Choices affect visible Facebook posts ‘more than algorithm’

Posted on May 8, 2015


A study conducted by social network Facebook has claimed that the decisions made by its users seem to affect the content on their news feeds more than the site’s code.

The company research, which was conducted in conjunction with an academic from the University of Michigan, focused on around 10.1 million of the social platform’s US members. Studying the users’ political preferences, it was discovered that many were only clicking on posts that agreed with their own views.

By continually interacting with news feed content that was in keeping with their own values, this was said to skewer the types of posts visible to each member. In effect, this created a ‘filter’ that only relayed information back to them that they would already agree with, while friends’ updates going against their worldview would be left at the wayside.

While the filter has been described in the Independent as an “echo chamber” – with only a user’s own opinions being constantly reinforced without exposure to opposing points of view – Facebook said this shows how its news feed content is tailored to a member’s own choices.

The takeaway message for companies conducting internet marketing efforts would be the importance of creating quality content suitable for their audiences. If fewer general posts are getting through the filter to consumers on Facebook, it’s vital to make sure posts are not bland or too general. Instead, content delivering news and information that a firm’s audience will find interesting stands a greater chance of being seen.

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