From the moment we wake up to start our day till the moment we retreat into our comfy beds, close our eyes and finally start counting sheep, social media, or more specifically, Facebook is a prevalent constant in almost every aspect of our lives. Starting from keeping in touch with our family and friends, as well as to keep ourselves informed on current world affairs and events, we look to Facebook first, then everywhere else.
In such an app dominant lifestyle, one which we surely cannot deny, the importance of the right kind of data and information can never be stressed enough. So why is it that knowing how important of a role Facebook plays in our lives, there have been recent issues stating that Facebook allegedly manipulates data information that are present to us on our News Feed according to their judgement?
What could be a move to counter such allegations, on August 11, Facebook posted a new blog post that states, or clarifies, how Facebook has tweaked its algorithm to bring news that’s relevant and of interest to you in order to make your News Feed more informative.
“Our goal with News Feed is to show people the stories most relevant to them, so we rank stories so what’s most important to each person shows up highest in their News Feeds,” said Facebook in the blog post on Friday. According to Jie Xu, Research Scientist, Akos Lada, Data Scientist and Vibhi Kant, Product Manager at News Feed, when Facebook ranks and makes improvements to News Feed, it relies on a set of core values. “These values — which we’ve been using for years — guide our thinking and help us keep the central experience of News Feed intact as it evolves,” they wrote.
To better understand how the social media giant can show people the stories that are most informative to them, it talks to people and asks them how it can improve what they see when they check Facebook. “With the new update, we are creating a new ranking signal to predict what is most informative to you, so those stories appear higher in your feed,” Facebook said.
“First, we look at the stories that people tell us they find informative. People from our Feed Quality Programme look at each story in their feed and rank it on a scale of one to five – one being ‘really not informative’ and five being ‘really informative’,” it added.
The stories people rate as informative and really informative help create a new prediction about how informative Facebook thinks they will find each story.
“We then combine this signal with how relevant the story might be to you personally, taking into account things like your relationship with the person or publisher that posted, or what you choose to click on, comment on or share to best predict stories that you might personally find informative,” the post read.
The blog post went on to state that this newly tweaked algorithm will not have any direct significance in terms of distributing contents by specific Pages on the social media site. If at most, Page admins may notice a small increase in referral traffic, while some Pages may see a slight decrease. However, Pages should continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences and that their audiences might find informative in order to balance out whatever change in traffic occurs from this algorithm change.