When Facebook Changes the News Feed Again, You Won't Believe What Disappears - The UpStream

When Facebook Changes the News Feed Again, You Won't Believe What Disappears

posted Monday Aug 8, 2016 by Scott Ertz

When Facebook Changes the News Feed Again, You Won't Believe What Disappears

Facebook likes to tweak the algorithm that decides what to show you in your news feed. Often, their intentions are to increase the value proposition of their product - the longer you stay, the more you interact with, the more advertising dollars they can generate. Therefore, it is in their best interest to continue placing posts in your feed that will hold your interest and keep you within the system. Sometimes, though, they attack things they consider to be a problem.

In the most recent algorithm change, the company announced that they will be minimizing the frequency of what they consider to be "clickbait." In the industry, clickbait is content that is published that provides little to no value with a headline that suggests otherwise. In Facebook's definition, however, they are content that are published with titles that don't tell you what the content will be and are often misleading.

You know the headlines what you see them, and you might still click on them. They usually look something like, "She met a stranger at the park, but when she opened her backpack I WAS AMAZED!" There is absolutely no telling what will be on the other side of that link. Sometimes they are sites that have malicious advertising, often they are short content that requires you to click through three pages to read 9 paragraphs. Almost all of them are a disappointment.

For me, when I read a headline that goes that direction, I simply move on. I learned a long time ago that there is often no content on the other end of that link, and what is there is not of any interest to anyone, let alone to me. But, for Facebook, it is about trying to ensure the content is interesting. Adam Mosseri, VP of Product Management, said,

We want publishers to post content that people care about, and we think people care about headlines that are much more straightforward.

Will this change increase interaction on the site? Will it encourage publishers to use more descriptive headlines? Or will publishers find ways to game the algorithm, as they almost always do? My money's on the latter.


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