Face­book’s lat­est news feed tweak: Strictly just for your eyes only

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - MEDIA& MARKETING - BAR­BARA ORTUTAY DOWN WITH CLICK­BAIT? YOUR PER­SONAL ‘NEWS­PA­PER’ ADS ARE SEP­A­RATE DATA RULES

NEW YORK: Face­book has once again tweaked the for­mula it uses to de­cide what peo­ple will see in their news feed – and this time, it’s per­sonal.

The so­cial me­dia gi­ant says it up­dated the news feed so peo­ple will see more posts from their friends and fam­ily and not, say, by the New York Times or Buz­zfeed.

To try to keep peo­ple glued to Face­book, it reg­u­larly up­dates the al­go­rithm that de­cides what posts users see. With the lat­est up­date, the com­pany says it’s fo­cus­ing on what Face­book is for – con­nect­ing with peo­ple you know.

Here’s a look at some of the ways the com­pany has changed the news feed, which launched in 2006, as well as some of the fac­tors it uses in de­cid­ing what makes up your feed.

Face­book tweaked its news feed in 2014 to clamp down on “click­bait,” posts with grabby head­lines like “you won’t be­lieve what hap­pened next” that dis­ap­point.

More clicks meant the posts would move higher in peo­ple’s news feeds, even if peo­ple didn’t want to see them. How did Face­book de­cide what’s click­bait? For one, it knows how much time you spend read­ing an ar­ti­cle. A quick click gen­er­ally means users are not re­ally in­ter­ested in the post shared.

Face­book’s push worked. Users are much less likely to see click­bait on their news feed these days.

In May 2013, Face­book chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Zucker­berg said he wanted the news feed to look more like a dig­i­tal news­pa­per, with in­for­ma­tion tai­lored to each user. The com­pany gave users more ways to de­cide what they do and don’t want to see.

Later, the com­pany ex­panded these tools, let­ting users pick whose posts they wanted to see first (you can still choose to high­light news ar­ti­cles if you are a news hound) and who they wanted to un­fol­low, or fol­low again after they un­fol­lowed.

The lat­est al­go­rithm tweaks won’t af­fect how of­ten you see ad­ver­tise­ments, or as Face­book calls them, “spon­sored posts.”

You can hide ads or tell Face­book you don’t want to see ads from a par­tic­u­lar com­pany. That will change what types of ads you see.

It’s in Face­book’s best in­ter­est to show its more than 1 bil­lion daily users stuff that will keep them in­ter­ested. To that end, the com­pany says it sur­veys thou­sands of users each day to find out what peo­ple want to see in their feeds. – ANA-AP

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