Facebook shifts algorithm to emphasize ‘meaningful content’

The social media platform has made more than a few changes in the past year. The organization’s latest move aims to impact users’ news feeds and how they interact with content.

Facebook’s algorithm is evolving…again.

Users can soon expect to see content in their news feeds that Facebook anticipates they’ll spend more time reading, instead of what was shared most recently. The shift aims to give precedence to content that users will commit to. It’s not just an article’s length, though, that factors into whether it’ll show up in your feed.

Here’s an explanation from Facebook:

We are adding another factor to News Feed ranking so that we will now predict how long you spend looking at an article in the Facebook mobile browser or an Instant Article after you have clicked through from News Feed. This update to ranking will take into account how likely you are to click on an article and then spend time reading it. We will not be counting loading time towards this — we will be taking into account time spent reading and watching once the content has fully loaded. We will also be looking at the time spent within a threshold so as not to accidentally treat longer articles preferentially.

The algorithm change promises to bring a greater diversity of posts to news feeds, ensuring that you don’t see several posts in succession from the same source. From a marketing standpoint, sharing an in-depth article or more explainer pieces could push your content to the top of friends’ feeds.

Facebook expects some publisher pages to see “minor decreases” in referral traffic, although most are not expected to see significant changes.

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