At a press event today, Facebook announced a few changes to users’ news feeds, including two key ones that you’re probably already feeling the effects of.
Chief among them is “story bumping,” a system that takes stories that you missed on your News Feed from earlier in the day and bumps them up closer to the top for you to see.
The change is supposed to make it easier for infrequent users of Facebook (and people who leave some parts of their news feed unread) to keep up with older things that are still relevant to them. Facebook’s extensive A/B testing of new features has shown that people are more likely to read the old stories that are bumped up in their news feed, so it seems like the change will be a welcome addition to the way that Facebook handles user timelines.
There’s a chance you’ll be seeing the results of story bumping today. The feature has been rolled out on the desktop, and the company plans to be pushing it to mobile in the near future.
The next feature is what the company is calling “last actor,” which, according to a report by The Next Web, tracks the last 50 people you’ve interacted with on Facebook, and takes that into account when figuring out what stories to show you. If you have interacted with a person’s profile recently, their stories are more likely to show up in your feed than not. That’s live on both desktop and mobile right now, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve already noticed its effects.
All told, these changes seem to be a net positive for users, who should be seeing stories that are better tailored and more relevant to them. If there’s one take-away from all this, though, it seems Facebook is going to be moving towards a feed that’s more curated rather than less so. The days of an unmitigated firehose of content from your friends are gone.
Previously on GeekWire: You can soon embed Facebook statuses, photos
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.