Tag: news feed

Move Over, News Feed: Facebook’s New Redesign Puts Groups Front and Center

Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported at the company’s annual F8 Conference that 100 million people were heavily active users of the platform’s Groups function. This year, he took the stage to report that 400 million people could be counted as that type of user. Given the massive growth and importance of these venues, a redesign toward these gatherings felt inevitable. And last week, we learned that the next iteration of Facebook – called FB5 inside the company – will do precisely this.

“There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook. When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook,” the company wrote in a recent blog post. Given that fact, their latest aesthetic and algorithmic update puts these thriving and vital micro-communities “at the center” of their new strategy. It aligns with the company’s push for more privacy, a move in turn driven by user behavior that shows increasing prioritization of private conversations and less permanent content.

In addition to redesigning the platform, the company’s latest advertising push supports this all-in mindset on groups. Led by new Facebook CMO Antonio Lucio, the new brand campaign is called “More Together,” and aims to “focus on people coming together on Facebook Groups over shared interests and experiences, whether it’s tacos or sci-fi.” The pivot toward groups will also make Events more prominent, another move seemingly geared toward the most popular features of the current platform…and moving away from those which have been most problematic.

An added benefit to this strategy for Facebook executives and engineers, is a natural de-emphasis on the highly scrutinized News Feed. It was there that issues of misinformation and polarization thrived, and has been blamed for several of the company’s latest image challenges. Aiming to get ahead of these critiques as they pertain to groups, the company has already pledged “to take measures to ensure that it is not recommending users to join Groups made for the purpose of spreading misinformation.”

Ultimately, this significant realignment for the frequently embattled company serves two masters. The user, who frequently flocks to these spaces anyway, can now do so with ease of navigation and a means to find new groups of similar interest. In the redesign, the platform is “improving [Group] discovery, making it easier to share from groups, and introducing a slew of new features built specifically for group type, like an anonymous posting option for health-related groups.” And for the company, who faced increasing pressure around (among other things) the perils of their prominent News Feed, they can structure their pivot around a new look and structure for their flagship product.

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The post Move Over, News Feed: Facebook’s New Redesign Puts Groups Front and Center appeared first on Social Media Week.


How Does Facebook’s News Feed Work Now?

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, more than half of American adults don’t understand why certain posts appear in their Facebook news feed.

This report drops on the heels of Facebook tweaking its algorithm to prioritize “meaningful interactions,” meaning fewer posts from brands and more posts from friends should appear on users’ feeds.

It also underpins the reality that, while millions of Americans and billions of people worldwide use Facebook, many of them don’t feel they have control over what content they’re seeing.

The numbers: People who don’t understand the feed

If you feel confused about what Facebook is showing you on any given day, you’re not alone. Pew’s survey shows that 53 percent of U.S. adults don’t understand why certain posts are included in their feed, with 20 percent saying they do not understand the feed “at all well.”

Not surprisingly, the older the polled user is, the less likely they are to understand Facebook’s news feed, or that they have some control over what content appears more or less frequently.

But confusion isn’t just an older person’s game here: 41 percent of users ages 18 to 29 say they don’t have a good understanding of the feed.

So how does the feed work?

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s former head of news feed, spent much of the past year trying to explain the feed’s ranking system to users, publishers, and anyone who engages him.

Mosseri is now head of product at Instagram, but he was once described as the “only Facebook exec anybody can stand talking to because he seems not to lie all the time.” So when he explains the algorithm, you can believe it.

Here’s how Mosseri broke down the news feed ranking system in a video released by Facebook last year:

Facebook uses a tool called ranking: “Ranking is a set of algorithms we use to try to assess people are in each and every story they can see on Facebook,” he says.

Facebook’s algorithm essentially estimates the likelihood that you’ll engage with a post. It involves combining four steps:

  • Inventory: The “menu” of Facebook, which is the collection of posts you have not seen from your friends or the pages you follow.
  • Signals: Information Facebook has such as how old the post is, who posted it, or how fast your current internet connection is or what device you’re using.
  • Predictions: Facebook uses signals to predict how likely you are to comment, share, or hide a story.
  • Relevancy: The final step is to weigh predictions and roll them up into a relevancy score—a number that represents how likely you will be interested in a given story. Stories are ordered in the news feed by those scores.

Mosseri also mentions that recency is an important but not all-important signal, which is why Facebook is “lightly chronological.”

Today, the inventory that Facebook is selecting stories from has more posts from friends than businesses. Marketers will need to study how to hurdle over competitors in order to win the limited space available to them.

And if your brand’s content does show up in people’s news feed organically, it’s because that content is highly relevant to them. Conversely, if you see a brand’s content in your feed, maybe that content is closer to your heart than you imagined.

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Snapchat Could be the Next Social App That Is Run by an Algorithm

Algorithmic filtering has been much in the news lately, after reports that Facebook routinely fiddles with the site’s Trending Topics, and makes editorial judgements about what to include or exclude. Now, there are reports that Snapchat is about to implement an algorithmic filter for the service, which is a hot platform for short-form video. According…