Facebook is a surprisingly competitive place. The average user has about 190 friends on the site who pump out a combined 1,500 updates on a daily basis. Important updates can get buried on your news feed quick, meaning if you don’t check the social network regularly, you’re sure to miss out on something.
That’s the way Facebook has always been, but a change to the news feed algorithm is shaking up the status quo. According to the company’s small business team, older content has begun appearing on top of your news feed as part of a concerted effort to promote the most viewed and liked content shared by your friends.
So, what determines whether or not your bestie’s day-old post appears at the top of your news feed? And what determines whether your friends will see what you post? There are four main factors that affect what you will now see:
- Facebook is more likely to show content from people and celebrities you interact with regularly. Yes, Facebook knows exactly how much you like Ryan Gosling, and it's more than willing to enable your obsession.
- Facebook prioritizes showing you posts that have a significant number of likes, shares, and comments. The algorithm gives a heavy weight to the opinions and actions of your friends. If a cute cat video goes viral within your social circle, Facebook wants to make sure you’re in the loop about it too.
- Facebook takes into account what types of content you like best. If you have a special interest in looking through your friends’ photo albums, the social network is more likely to show you newly added pictures on your news feed. Likewise, if you never interact with your friends’ Farmville updates, Facebook will start burying them under posts you’re more interested in (i.e., photos of Ryan Gosling).
- Facebook tends to bury posts that other people have hidden or reported as offensive. This makes sense: There’s no point in sharing content that generates nothing but highly negative reactions from your friends.
Ideally, the change to your news feed will make it more relevant to you without any added work on your part. The site simply learns what you like and don’t like. Keep that in mind when you look at content – each click teaches Facebook about what you want to read. Of course, if you want to make sure that you keep closer tabs on your besties, you can always add people to your Close Friends list on the site.
If you’re interested in reading up more on the Facebook news feed algorithm, check out the latest post on the official Facebook business blog.