Facebook Tweak Promises More Posts From Friends - InformationWeek

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1/22/2014
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Facebook Tweak Promises More Posts From Friends

New Facebook feed bows to users' preference for posts from friends over posts from pages they've liked, and tells page owners to try using images with their posts.

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Facebook announced a change to its newsfeed algorithm that will show users more text-based status updates from friends and fewer text-based status updates from pages that users follow.

According to Facebook product manager Chris Turitzin, a test showed that displaying more status updates from friends led users to write 9 million more status updates each day. Over time, though, Facebook discovered this wasn't the case with text-based status updates from pages.

"We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types," he wrote in a blog post. "This will help us show people more content they want to see."

[Get a grip on your Facebook account. Read 10 Most Misunderstood Facebook Privacy Facts.]

Turitzin said that although Facebook page owners can expect to see a decrease in the distribution of their text-status updates as a result of the tweak, page owners might see increases in engagement and distribution of other story types. Text-status updates include those with links that do not convert to display rich media such as an image, as in the example below.

Facebook encouraged page owners to use its more visual link-share format. Facebook said that these posts tend to generate more likes, comments, shares, and clicks. This format pulls an image from the website it's linked to; Facebook says this provides a more visual experience for fans.

Facebook has pushed a number of updates recently that emphasize content. In early December, the social network announced a change to its newsfeed algorithm that favors high-quality articles over posts about memes.

Most recently, Facebook added a trending topics section that displays a personalized list of popular topics based on users' interests, who is commenting on a topic, how recently a topic has surged on Facebook, and how much friends are engaging with it. Clicking on a headline opens a page where you can explore related posts.

Facebook is also rumored to be launching a mobile news reader this month, which could include elements from its ditched newsfeed redesign it announced last March. Reports indicate that the mobile app or standalone web experience will aggregate a variety of content from publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Senior editor Kristin Burnham covers social media, social business, and IT leadership and careers for InformationWeek.com. Contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

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Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2014 | 8:34:42 PM
Re: Facebook is getting scared
I don't think I'd interpert Facebook's actions as being scared -- they are the only website (and form of media) that has more than 1 billion users. That's an incredible number that pales in comparison to its competitors. (It also owns Instagram.) I do agree with you that this is a welcome "carrot" for users. It's been a while since it's done something that generally pleases the masses.
TomFLaSusa
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TomFLaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 12:15:05 PM
Facebook is getting scared
Facebook is getting scared: between the bubbling anger over individual users and businesses not reaching more of their friends & followers unless they cough up some cash, and the fact that platforms like Instagram are slicing into their numbers, I won't be surprised if we see a few more "carrots" dangled like this in the near future to prevent a bigger bleed.
concrete
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concrete,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 5:35:16 AM
Re: A good change.
Theres also talk of them releasing their ad platform into the wild so expect facebook ads on 3rd party websites!
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
1/22/2014 | 10:19:44 AM
Surprised
I'm surprised all posts don't have an image of some sort at the moment, as when linking through most of the time Facebook auto-grabs an image from it anyway. Perhaps it's down to people using URL shorteners, a prettty much sure fire way to have me not click whatever it is. 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/22/2014 | 9:44:19 AM
A good change.
I htink the change is a good one. I've noticed that I see fewer posts from friends -- unless they're picture posts or story shares -- and more from the Pages I follow. Hopefully this algorithm change will correct that, especially since Facebook is about connecting with people. What are your thoughts?
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