News:rewired: how does the Facebook algorithm work?


How does the Facebook algorithm workThe Facebook algorithm is a hugely impactful filter on the world’s biggest social network and who sees what, but how does it work in practice?

To find out, it’s helpful if you can hear from the horse’s mouth and the recent News:Rewired conference in London saw Vadim Lavrusi, journalism program manager at Facebook explain the 5 key principles that influence what appears in your newsfeed.

  1. Page: the frequency of engagement with a page (or person). The more you like, share, view and comment on a page, the more likely it is to appear in your newsfeed
  2. Post: the frequency of engagement with a specific post. If others interact with a specific post, then the more likely it is to appear in your newsfeed and vice-versa for your friends and, in the case of a page, your followers
  3. Content: the type of content influences its relative visibility. Facebook’s analytics show that photos have the most interactions and hence they are weighted accordingly to appear more regularly in your newsfeed to increase the likelihood of you staying on Facebook. Indeed, photos are the most popular content of all with 300m uploaded a day. However, their recommendation is that individuals and content owners alike mix up their content to maintain interest by including text, links, photos and video to ensure an interesting and balanced feed.
  4. Negative feedback: if you remove something from your feed, then this has a disproportionately high impact on the page or person appearing in your newsfeed and also that type of content appearing. The lesson being, post junk at your peril.
  5. Freshness: the more recent a post, the more likely it is to appear. It’s a delicate balance between ensuring a regular flow of content to keep you coming back and ensuring that users are not overwhelmed with posts by filtering out the best content

Now of course you can’t expect Facebook’s staff to reveal all about their algorithm, so this is only a filtered view of how the algorithm works and there are many more subtleties. However, it is a useful guide to the reasoning behind what appears in your newsfeed.

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