Two ways Facebook’s algorithm tweak could change your newsfeed

    Posted on July 6, 2020

     

    Last week, social media giant Facebook changed the way in which its news feed algorithms rank stories, introducing a new update that prioritises original news reporting.

    Furthermore, as well as updating its priorities, the site’s algorithms will also demote any news article that has no “transparent authorship”. According to Facebook, both of these updates have been introduced based on research it conducted with users and have been built based on feedback from academic experts and news publishers.

    Amid the changes, there are two factors that stand out as particularly significant

    1. Prioritising original news

    Facebook’s algorithms will now prioritise news identified to be original. In order to do this, the site will look at a range of content based on the same or similar topics to determine which of the articles is linked to as the original source the most often.

    When there are multiple stories on the same subject being shared by a number of publishers, Facebook’s algorithms will choose to boost the most original within users’ feeds. It is noted that this change is not applicable to news stories shared by personal connections, only to those shared by publishers.

    Some industry experts have highlighted that it is not uncommon for original stories to be shared by smaller publishers but then be picked up on by a larger publisher. This could lead to the algorithm linking to the bigger publisher as it is better known among users.

    The company has admitted that the process of defining an original story can be complex and that it will refine its approach to the subject over time.

    2. Demotion of non-transparent authorship

    Facebook has stated that ransparent authorship is important, as a lack of it shows poor credibility. Moving forwards, Facebook will be demoting news articles from publishers not displaying information about their editorial teams. The site will be reviewing this and explains the publisher must include the full name of their reporters and editorial team.

    This author transparency is not unique to Facebook as it is a standard editorial practice in journalism. The type of content produced by non-transparent sites usually include clickbait and ad farms.

    As a result of these changes, original news stories should see a boost in distribution and engagement. Publishers should also note that content is still subject to the ranking criteria already laid out by Facebook.

    For help producing quality, relevant and engaging content for both your website and social media channels, get in touch with Engage Web today.

    Alan Littler

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