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With News Feed tweaks, Facebook wants to make Facebook less annoying
The algorithm changes are here!
In April’s News Feed update, introduced in a blog post titled “News Feed FYI: Balancing Content from Friends and Pages,” Facebook announced three major changes, all of which directly benefit human people on Facebook rather than the brands that make it go ’round.
The biggest portion of this update—and the one we’re most anxious to see in action—is Facebook’s assertion that it wants you to stop missing stuff from the people you actually care about. Facebook knows our frenemies, acquaintances, and hair stylists from our capital F friends because it knows who we most often creep on and interact with, whether it’s through likes, shares, or private messages.
Whether you’ll actually see a shift in your News Feed remains to be seen, but Facebook declared that all of those “photos, videos, status updates or links” your for-real friends are sharing are going to start hogging the News Feed again. Those sorts of posts are naturally fighting with brands (“Pages”) for your attention, so you might see less of that non-friend stuff unless you really engage with Facebook’s many advertisers (like the Daily Dot dot com!) on a regular basis.
Two other tweaks could make the News Feed a better place as well. Facebook has apparently figured out that we mostly don’t care when your friends like or comment on something, so it’ll stop bugging us about our friends’ listless Facebook Like sprees, making “these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all.” You know how you often will see a story from a week ago shoot to the top of News Feed, the only new thing about it being that a friend commenting on it or Liked it? Hopefully this happens a lot less.
The other tweak is that Facebook will now allow the News Feed to post consecutive stories from the same source instead of mixing it up—a boon both for brands and for those of us with a sensible number of friends.
Illustration by Max Fleishman
Taylor Hatmaker has reported on the tech industry for nearly a decade, covering privacy and government. Most recently, she was the Debug editor of the Daily Dot. Prior to that, she was a staff writer and deputy editor at ReadWrite, a tech and business reporter for Yahoo News, and the senior editor of Tecca. Her editorial interests include censorship, digital activism, LGBTQ issues, and futurist consumer tech.