Facebook used this year’s F8 developer conference to share how the latest News Feed algorithm works.
Like the past few years, News Feed VP Adam Mosseri was onstage to reveal what his team will focus on and how they will do it.
Below are key points of Mosseri’s talk titled Consumption to Connection.
Mosseri says Facebook wants to connect friends and family—the heart of the News Feed experience—in three ways:
- Help people see meaningful stories that bring them together
- Help people know how to share the moments that matter
- Help ease conversations about all of these things
How News Feed Works
Then, Mosseri breaks down the News Feed algorithm into four factors to determine what you will see when opening Facebook.
- Inventory – A content library you are allowed to see but are not yet shown in your feed. The collection relies on the people and Pages you follow.
- Signals – The algorithm measures each potential story and post through signals that gauge how important the item is to you. For instance, when it was posted, who posted it, your likelihood to like or comment on posts like this, the speed of your internet, the type of mobile device you are using, etc.
- Predictions – After the assessment, the algorithm predicts your tendency to comment, share, or recommend the story. It also predicts how long you may watch a video or read an article. While most predictions are personal, some are universal. For instance, Mosseri says they can predict if a story is likely to be clickbait. Some predictions are positive, some are negative—not a good thing if you want to report or hide a story.
- Score – They weigh each prediction and come up with a number to represent how valuable they think the story is for you. This process happens to each story in your News Feed, each time you visit Facebook.
Mosseri explains they will reallocate the values assessed to their predictions in the News Feed.
Rather than emphasize predictions like how long you may watch a video or read an article, the News Feed team will focus on weighting measures like how likely a story will ease conversations between friends.
Mosseri says friend posts facilitate more comments per impression than group posts and Page posts. And links are likely better for photos than conversations.
Facebook has focused more on Groups and, at the F8 conference, has provided a better perspective on why they want to shift the focus of the News Feed.
While Pages and publishers help keep users on the platform, the company wants more discussions and connections.
Mosseri says Stories is the big focus for Facebook this year in sharing.
Stories have grown in recent years and will soon become the main way for people to share on social media, he adds.
Facebook wants to incorporate Stories and News Feed to facilitate more sharing. They have tested the following to explore the potential:
- Profile Picture Stories – These have the highest like and comment rates in News Feed.
- Birthday Stories – They are developing a way for users to contribute to birthday stories to send their best wishes on video.
- Group Stories – They are testing Group Stories so group members can contribute to a single Story feed.
- Event Stories – Mosseri says they are working on Event Stories to collect public images from an event to a single Story feed.
You can watch Mosseri’s full talk here.