As we work to improve News Feed, we make updates to help make sure you see the most relevant stories at the top. As part of this work, we ask thousands of people to rate their experience every day and tell us how we can improve what they see when they check Facebook — we call this our Feed Quality Program. From these conversations we have learned that the actions people take on Facebook—liking, clicking, commenting or sharing a post—don’t always tell us the whole story of what is most meaningful to them.
For example, we’ve found that there are stories people don’t like or comment on that they still want to see, such as articles about a serious current event, or sad news from a friend. Based on this finding, we previously updated News Feed’s ranking to factor in how much time you spend reading a post within News Feed, regardless of whether you opened the article. We also previously updated News Feed’s ranking to take into account times when someone clicked on an article and came straight back to News Feed as we learned that this often happened when the article someone clicked on wasn’t what they had expected from the post or the headline.
Time Spent Viewing
Building on this work, we’re learning that the time people choose to spend reading or watching content they clicked on from News Feed is an important signal that the story was interesting to them. We are adding another factor to News Feed ranking so that we will now predict how long you spend looking at an article in the Facebook mobile browser or an Instant Article after you have clicked through from News Feed. This update to ranking will take into account how likely you are to click on an article and then spend time reading it. We will not be counting loading time towards this — we will be taking into account time spent reading and watching once the content has fully loaded. We will also be looking at the time spent within a threshold so as not to accidentally treat longer articles preferentially.
With this change, we can better understand which articles might be interesting to you based on how long you and others read them, so you’ll be more likely to see stories you’re interested in reading. This change only factors in the time people spend reading an article regardless of whether that time is spent reading an Instant Article or an article in the mobile web browser.
Diversity of Page Posts
We’ve also heard from people that they enjoy reading articles from a wide range of publishers, and it can be repetitive if too many articles from the same source are back to back in their News Feed. We’ll also be making an update to reduce how often people see several posts in a row from the same source in their News Feed.
Will This Impact My Page?
We’ve started rolling this out and will continue over the coming weeks. We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes. Some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic, and some Pages might see minor decreases. As always, Pages should refer to our publishing best practices.