By Varun Kacholia, Engineering Manager for News Feed Ranking
Every day people see content from millions of Pages on Facebook in their News Feeds. Our goal is to show the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. As part of that we want to make sure that the best quality content is being produced, surfaced and shared. Our latest update to the News Feed ranking algorithm helps ensure that the organic content people see from Pages they are connected to is the most interesting to them.
How do we find “high quality content”?
While the goal of News Feed is to show high quality posts to people, we wanted to better understand what high quality means. To do this we decided to develop a new algorithm to factor into News Feed. To develop it, we first surveyed thousands of people to understand what factors make posts from Pages high quality. Some of the questions we asked included:
- Is this timely and relevant content?
- Is this content from a source you would trust?
- Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
- Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g. asking for people to like the content)
- Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
- Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?
We used the results of this survey to build a new machine learning system to detect content considered high quality. The system uses over a thousand different factors, such as how frequently content from a certain Page that is reported as low quality (e.g. hiding a Page post), how complete the Page profile is, and whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base for other known high quality Pages. Coming up with an algorithm to detect this is complex, and we will continue to refine it as we get more feedback.
Once we developed this algorithm, we added it to our News Feed ranking algorithms as another factor to calculate the score of a News Feed story. We tested the new version of the ranking algorithm with a small segment of our users: *
- By showing these high quality posts higher up in News Feed, we saw a significant increase in interactions (likes, comments, shares) by the test group with this content
- People in the test group also hid fewer stories overall
These results suggest that this change shows more people higher quality, more interesting stories from the Pages they are connected to. We will be rolling out this update to everyone over the next few weeks.
What should you expect?
For most Pages the impact should be relatively small, but Pages that are seeing good engagement on their posts could see further increases in reach. The bottom line is that your Page strategy should still stay the same: produce high quality content and optimize for engagement and reach. You can do this by focusing on these tips when creating your Page posts:
- Make your posts timely and relevant
- Build credibility and trust with your audience
- Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
- Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”
We’ll continue to keep you posted on our efforts to improve News Feed in our News Feed FYI blog posts – stay tuned for more.
*Based on a random sample of 21M users over a one-week period in August