Facebook To Open Up on Changes to News Feed Algorithms

On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it will now regularly publish blog postings about the algorithm that runs the display of posts on the home screen of its users. This is a reversal for Facebook, as it has previously kept its algorithms secret. This openness is an attempt to improve credibility among its users and businesses. The company is also debuting a new “Story Bumping” feature, which will push missed stories ahead of ones already read.

An outline of major adjustments to the feed ranking system was revealed in the company’s Facebook for Business, “News Feed FYI.” Facebook is releasing this series to the public in an attempt to address calls for more transparency.

Critics of Facebook have targeted the popular News Feed feature. Some claim that the company is utilizing its algorithm to limit business content, and force them to buy additional ads.

Last year, changes to the ranking system caused a wave of complaints from several businesses that assert the adjustments significantly reduced the amount of views, likes and comments on unpaid or “organic” posts, reports The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, Facebook says that changes were made to address spam and noted that ads in the news feed are decided by a separate algorithm.

The average Facebook user can read approximately 1,500 posts. In measuring a user’s connections, what they like, what users hide, and how they interact with various types of posts, the company prioritizes approximately 300 stories each day.

Also on Tuesday, Facebook updated the News Feeds with “Story Bumping,” which will push popular posts that were missed back to the top of a user’s feed, but only if that post is still receiving many likes and comments. This change improved likes and comments on friends’ posts by 5 percent, and improved interactions on page posts (small business or celebrity pages) by 8 percent, according to Facebook’s research.

People typically read about 57 percent of what is in their News Feed. With the change, that reading increased to 70 percent in trials, reports Facebook.