facebookHave you ever missed an important post on Facebook because you were asleep, and didn’t scroll down far enough to catch it in your News Feed? Facebook is looking to fix that.

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.

An illustration of how story bumping works
An illustration of how story bumping works

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

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  • Guest

    Chronological order, please. I expect to see every post made by every friend in the order in which it appeared. I’ll create filters and unsub from people with whom I don’t want to interact. They’re my friends, after all.

    This is a task that my Netscape Mail and News Manager handled back in the 1990s, before most Facebook employees were out of diapers. I expect it as a feature and I will reduce my reliance on Facebook until I receive it.

    Chron order, filters that empower me, no ads. For this I’m prepared to pay as much as $1/month for a premium account. Ball’s in your court, Face.

  • panacheart

    In general software that tries to prescribe what I want and control my user experience is a failure. It’s like somebody else trying to choose your clothes for you in the morning based on an algorithm. In general it doesn’t work well. It’s like translation software. We can get an approximation of what was said with machine translation, but it takes a human to really do it right.

    Sometimes software wants to be too clever.

  • Rob Belcher

    Expanding on ‘Guest’s’ comment: Obviously I totally agree. Facebook really is just an internet user group / web forum / bulletin board. Which we all know have existed … since… well … that really is what… well… before… atomic particles of… well… the skeleton… back when… connected tubes….

    It’s just that instead of a web forum of people that share a hobby or career, this is just… your friends.

    But as a venture-backed company, and now a public company, they never have really answered to their customers. They answer to investors and will continue to do so.

    Meanwhile, chron order, filters, and being able to reply to a specific reply (like a forum) and be able to reply with photos and videos is all I, and I think many, many other users, want from it.

  • Mike Christensen

    I switched from iOS to Android recently, and I now have to use the Facebook mobile website instead of the Facebook App. No matter what I do, I can’t get the mobile app to show more than 1 or maybe 2 posts per hour, so I’m missing out on about 90% of the content. This cleverness needs to stop. I don’t understand why I can’t have a “Show me everything” setting somewhere. If I’m flooded with more stuff than I can possibly know what to do with, well then that’s my fault.

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