Facebook has announced that it has made two key changes to how its News Feed displays news content. Now, clicking on an article may reveal up to three related articles. Also, new comments on a story you’ve previously seen may “bump” that story back up in your feed. Facebook also said it will try to do a better job surfacing quality content rather than “meme” content, especially on mobile.
Facebook shared the news on its blog today. Of the new related articles feature, it wrote:
To complement people’s interest in articles, we recently began looking at ways to show people additional articles similar to ones they had just read.
Soon, after you click on a link to an article, you may see up to three related articles directly below the News Feed post to help you discover more content you may find interesting.
It also showed an image of how the new related articles feature appears:
Story Bumping, Now Influenced By Comments
Story bumping was introduced in August, where Facebook may show articles that you didn’t see because perhaps you didn’t scroll far enough down in your news feed. Even those stories might be “old” on a next visit to News Feed, they might get “bumped” higher if Facebook considered that they were generating enough interactivity that it was giving them a “second chance” of being seen.
Now, Facebook says that some stories — even those previously seen by someone in News Feed — may get a bump back up if fresh comments make it seem warranted. The company wrote:
We’re updating bumping to highlight stories with new comments. After people read a story, they are unlikely to go back and find that story again to see what their friends were saying about it, and it wouldn’t bump up in News Feed. With this update stories will occasionally resurface that have new comments from friends.
As a result, people may start seeing a few more stories returning to their feed with new comments highlighted. Our testing has shown that doing this in moderation for just a small number of stories can lead to more conversations between people and their friends on all types of content.
Quality Over Meme
Facebook also said in its post that it will be trying to do a better job of showing links to what it considers to be high quality content, especially for those on mobile devices, in part by tapping more into what people are clicking on. The loser in this change will apparently be sites that specialize in posting “meme” photos. From Facebook’s post, with key parts highlighted:
People use Facebook to share and connect, including staying current on the latest news, whether it’s about their favorite celebrity or what’s happening in the world. We’ve noticed that people enjoy seeing articles on Facebook, and so we’re now paying closer attention to what makes for high quality content, and how often articles are clicked on from News Feed on mobile. What this means is that you may start to notice links to articles a little more often (particularly on mobile).
Why are we doing this? Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme. Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.