By Erich Owens, Software Engineer and David Vickrey, Engineering Manager

Our goal with News Feed is to show everyone the right content at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. We’ve heard feedback that there are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show. There are also times when a post that is a day or two old may not be relevant to you anymore. Our latest update to News Feed ranking looks at two new factors to determine if a story is more important in the moment than other types of updates.

Factoring in trending topics

One way we show timely content higher-up in News Feed is to show people stories about things that are trending as soon as they occur, so you can immediately know what your friends or favorite Pages are saying about the stories of the day. This means that when a friend or Page you are connected to posts about something that is currently a hot topic of conversation on Facebook, that post is more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner. Early testing of a small percentage of posts has shown that this update on average leads to a more than 6% increase in people engaging with these stories (e.g., more people share, comment, like or click).


Looking at when people like or comment

The second update takes into account the rate at which people are liking or commenting on a post. Currently one of the signals we look at is the total number of likes that a post has received when determining how high up to to show it in News Feed. With this update, we are going to begin looking at when people are choosing to like, comment and share.

If people are engaging with the post right after it is posted, and not as much a few hours later, this suggests that the post was most interesting at the time it was posted, but potentially less interesting at a later date. Based on this signal it is more likely to appear higher in News Feed earlier on and lower at a later date.

We are also going to start taking this signal into account when considering which stories we bump in News Feed. Bumping is when we resurface stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see but are still getting lots of engagement. This is one more way that we’re working to identify timely posts so we can show them nearer the top of your News Feed sooner.

Will this affect my Page?

We will be rolling out these changes gradually and do not expect posts to see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update. If a Page posts about a trending topic or if a post sees a high velocity of engagement early on that then drops off, that post may begin to see increased distribution early on and less distribution over time. Pages should keep producing great content that is relevant and resonates with their audience.