Facebook this week announced two new ranking updates: One that prioritizes friends you might want to hear from, and another that prioritizes links you might “consider worthwhile.” And they’re both based on results from user surveys.
Facebook wants News Feed to connect people with the posts they find most relevant. To make sure that happens, people need to see what they want to see – posts from family and friends, or news, articles, and videos from Pages they follow. To decide what to show them, it has information that comes from their interactions what people like, comment on, or share. But that’s not enough.
Now, Facebook is running surveys in which it asks users to give more context about the posts they want to see, and who they want to see them from. Those results from surveys are now driving the platform’s latest ranking updates.
Facebook asks people to list the friends they are closest to, and then it looks “at the patterns that emerge from the results, some of which include being tagged in the same photos, continuously reacting and commenting on the same posts and checking-in at the same places.” These patterns are then used to “inform” its algorithm.
No, it doesn’t mean that News Feed will be full of posts from certain people. No, it doesn’t mean that you will “necessarily see more friend content.” You are more likely, however, to see posts from those you have close relationships with.
Future predictions on who you’d like to hear from more will then be based on continuously updated information from ongoing interactions. Facebook will also continue to survey people to make sure it understands “how new actions and interests map to the friends you want to hear from most.”
Similar to this update is the ranking update that takes into consideration responses to surveys that ask what posts people “thought were worth their time.” Facebook will use responses to “identify signs that someone might find a link worth their time” and combine with information it has about a post – type of post, who it’s from, engagement, etc – to predict “whether people are likely to find a link valuable.”
If you’re thinking about how these updates will impact your Page, Ramya Sethuraman, Product Manager, Jordi Vallmitjana, Product Manager, and Jon Levin, Technical Program Manager at Facebook explain that they “aren’t meant to show more or less from Pages or friends. Rather, the Page links that are surfaced to people will be ones they find worth their time — and the friend posts will be from friends people want to hear from most.”
So, business as usual!