Facebook’s Latest News Feed Algorithm Tweak Eyes More ‘Informative’ Stories

Facebook wants its users to find their News Feeds to be more informative.

The newest tweak to the social network’s News Feed algorithm, announced Thursday, is focused on delivering more stories that users find made them “feel more informed about the world around them.”

Research scientist Jie Xu, data scientist Akos Lada and News Feed product manager Vibhi Kant explained in a Newsroom post that the social network formulated a new ranking signal to factor into its algorithm, writing:

With this update, we are creating a new ranking signal to predict what is most informative to you, so those stories appear higher in your feed. First, we look at the stories that people tell us they find informative. People from our Feed Quality Program look at each story in their feed and rank it on a scale of one to five—one being “really not informative” and five being “really informative.”

Generally, we’ve found that people find stories informative if they are related to their interests, if they engage people in broader discussions and if they contain news about the world around them. That could be anything from recipes, to local issues, to global current events. The stories people rate as informative and really informative help create a new prediction about how informative we think you’ll find each story.

We then combine this signal with how relevant the story might be to you personally–taking into account things like your relationship with the person or publisher that posted, or what you choose to click on, comment on or share–to best predict stories that you might personally find informative. Informative stories are therefore different for each person and will likely change over time.

Xu, Lada and Kant added that the Feed Quality Program gathers data from “tens of thousands” of surveys from users around the world each day.

As for pages, Facebook did not expect any significant changes, saying that some pages may see small upticks in referral traffic and some may experience slight declines.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the latest change to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm?