In a bid to be more transparent, Facebook is sharing how it organizes News Feeds and updating how it ranks its content.
In a blog post this morning, Facebook Vice President of Product Management for News Feed Adam Mosseri detailed the company’s News Feed Values, with maintaining connections between friends and family as the primary goal. Posts from people a user interacts with regularly will appear higher up on the News Feed. Everything posted by a friend will show up somewhere in a user’s feed.
Posts from friends and family take precedence over Pages for publishers and businesses. This may lead to a decline in reach for Pages, unless most of their traffic comes from people sharing and commenting on their content.
Facebook’s main charge is to parse through all the content posted every day — status updates, pictures, likes, story shares — to get the most important information in front of the user, and that’s not easy. As Mosseri writes:
When we launched News Feed in 2006, it was hard to imagine the challenge we now face: far too much information for any one person to consume. In the decade since, more than a billion people have joined Facebook, and today they share a flood of stories every day. That’s why stories in News Feed are ranked — so that people can see what they care about first, and don’t miss important stuff from their friends. If the ranking is off, people don’t engage, and leave dissatisfied. So one of our most important jobs is getting this ranking right.
Facebook has received backlash following allegations that it suppressed conservative news from its trending section. Following the report, CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to make sure Facebook serves as a platform for a variety of viewpoints. He invited conservative leaders and people from across the political spectrum to talk with him about the issue.
“Facebook stands for giving everyone a voice,” Zuckerberg posted in May. “We believe the world is better when people from different backgrounds and with different ideas all have the power to share their thoughts and experiences.”
But there are limits. Facebook wants News Feeds to be a safe space for everyone, so it has Community Standards that detail what is unacceptable to post.
Here are some other highlights from News Feed Values:
- Posts should be entertaining and informative. That could mean a fun Facebook Live video from a celebrity or a post on a current event. Based on user behavior, Facebook predicts what kinds of posts people will enjoy.
- Facebook values “authentic communication” and is working to make sure people see less posts that they find “misleading, sensational and spammy,” according to the News Feed values.
- News Feed is constantly changing. The company wants feedback from users and will share information about how it changes News Feeds at its News Feed FYI page.
Every person’s News Feed, Facebook says, is customized to how they interact. If someone reads a certain type of story, then similar ones will appear. The people a user interacts with most will take priority over others. Posts people highlight and hide will be emphasized and downplayed, respectively.