Facebook announced today that it is beginning to roll out additional suggested articles for people who click on links in their News Feed to content that their friends post. So, if a user was to click on our article about Jeff Bezos’s announcement of Amazon’s plans to provide delivery through a fleet of autonomous aerial drones, Facebook might then also suggest related articles like one about his comments from the same interview about buying the Washington Post.
In addition, the company says that it wants to help promote more “high quality content” in the News Feed, which means that, in theory, quality news articles will be appearing higher up in a user’s feed than that cat gif one of their friends posted. That may be bad news for companies like Buzzfeed and Upworthy, which have gained popularity by producing easy to digest articles that aren’t necessarily high in substance.
On top of that, old news stories that people have already interacted with may resurface on a user’s News Feed if they have sparked a discussion. The company has updated its “bumping” algorithm to bring back old news stories with new comments highlighted to try and promote more discussion among the poster’s friends.
It’s another move to better integrate the social network with news stories, something that Facebook has been spending a lot of time working on. It has paid dividends, too, with the social network sending out 170 percent more traffic to media outlets compared to last year, according to numbers Facebook released in October.
Providing news content that’s interesting to its users is key for Facebook as it continues to compete with other social networks like Twitter, which has long been promoting its platform as a great way to get information about what’s going on in the world. If Facebook can provide more relevant news recommendations to its users, that might give the Mountain View-based company an edge over one of its closest competitors.