Facebook News Feed Algorithm Tweak Aimed at Mass-Hiders

Facebook announced a slight tweak to its News Feed algorithm aimed at serial hiders.

Facebook announced a slight tweak to its News Feed algorithm aimed at serial hiders.

Software engineer Sami Tas and engineering manager Meihong Wang announced in a Newsroom post that in cases where users hide a high percentage of posts on their News Feeds, the algorithm will not factor in those hides as strongly as in the past, meaning that users will still see similar content.

They wrote:

Many people choose to hide stories they don’t like, but most people do this only occasionally. Hiding something is usually a strong indication that someone didn’t want to see a particular post. There is also a small group of people on Facebook who hide a very high number of stories in their News Feed. In fact, some people hide almost every post in their News Feed, even after they’ve liked or commented on posts. For this group of people, “hide” isn’t as strong a negative signal and, in fact, they may still want to see similar stories to the ones they’ve hidden in the future.

To do a better job of serving this small group, we made a small update to News Feed so that, for these people only, we don’t take “hide” into account as strongly as before. As a result, this group of people has started seeing more stories from the pages and friends they are connected to than in the past. Overall, this tweak helps this group see more of the stuff they are interested in.

As for the algorithm change’s impact on pages, they wrote:

This update means that the small group of people who hide many stories will start to see more stories in their News Feed, so they will likely hide more stories overall. This means that the total number of hidden stories across Facebook will increase, so page administrators may see an increase in this metric in their page insights. We do not expect pages to see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the latest change to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm?


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david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.