Facebook to show breaking news

Posted on September 22, 2014


Social networking site Facebook is usually littered with YouTube videos and baby photos, but now, the site is hoping to change so that the latest stories from around the world appear in users’ newsfeeds.

The company is making a few tweaks to the algorithm that determines the content users see, and has updated it to show topical news.

The changes were announced by engineers David Vickrey and Erich Owens who, in a blog post, explain how the update considers two factors – trending topics and post interaction – and determines whether or not the story is more important at that particular moment in time.

By taking trending topics into consideration, the social platform will be able to give a greater priority to stories that are considered to be ‘breaking’, allowing users to immediately see what their friends and liked pages are saying about these particular topics.

The second factor looks at the way people engage with posts and the time it takes for them to react and interact with the story. The update to the algorithm will now see the network consider statistics such as when people choose to interact with a certain story, and whether they share, like or comment on the post.

This could see the site filtering the stories that appear in newsfeeds. The last time this happened was in June this year, when Facebook controversially studied emotions and sought to determine whether or not the nature of the topics appearing on people’s feeds had an effect on their frame of mind.

Alan Littler
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