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Facebook Newsfeed Update - Rankings, predictions, and a Newsfeed just for you!

This is pretty cool, guys.

Ever wondered why certain posts from certain people always seem to end up in your Newsfeed?  The answer is as easy as a few clicks!

In its ongoing effort to provide users with usable, engaging, and relevant content, Facebook has taken much of the mystery out of Newsfeed. As of April 2019, you can see exactly why ANY post is in your newsfeed and why Facebook feels it may be relevant and interesting to you.

We have been able to see why sponsored posts (ads) were being shown to us by selecting the “Why am I seeing this ad?” option on all sponsored posts.  This transparency has been extraordinarily helpful to people who want to better understand how their data is being used by Facebook. 

Now, similar information is available for ALL posts in your Newsfeed. Posts from friends, groups, and even businesses that find their way under your thumb offer a ton of information about how Facebook algorithms see and evaluate content. Everyone knows we don’t see posts from all our friends when we open the Facebook App. Instead, we see a few posts from friends, a few posts from any Facebook Groups we participate in, a few ads, etc.   

Try it for yourself!

Go to any post and click the  ”…”  at the top right corner.

Select “Why am I seeing this this post?”

In the example pictured below, my brother’s post of vacation photos shows up quite high in my Newsfeed.  Facebook tells us that this particular post is popular with quite a few people. Both my brother and a mutual friend of ours commented on the photos, so Facebook algorithms see this post as something I most likely want to see and likely will engage with.

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I even have the option to personalize my Newsfeed even more and select to see that person “first”.

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In the next example, a post from a Facebook Group that I participate in quite regularly, appears almost at the top of my Newsfeed when I open Facebook on my laptop.    

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Facebook gives us even more detailed information on why they think I would want to see this post in my Newsfeed. I tend to respond to posts with photos AND I comment on posts inside this group. There is a HUGE priority given to Facebook Groups since posts within Groups generate so much engagement, so it is easy to see why Facebook would push this post to the top of my Newsfeed.

How does the Facebook algorithms decided what post will appear in your Newsfeed? And in what order?

Facebook algorithms consider the following four factors when ranking and displaying content in your Newsfeed…

1.     Inventory – ALL the posts available to potentially appear in your Newsfeed.

2.     Signals – attributes detected that indicate to Facebook what each post is.

3.     Predictions – assessment of how much you will like and engage with post.

4.     Final Score – given to post based on consideration of all other factors.

 Facebook’s goal is to show people posts that are most relevant to them. So in the blink of an eye, Facebook creates your Newsfeed, just for you, and attempts to give you content that you will find engaging and relevant. It is pretty amazing and usually mostly accurate, but many of us feel like we see the same friends and groups in our Newsfeeds and wish we would see updates from a greater number of our friends.

The truth of the matter is that if we want Facebook algorithms to provide us with a more varied Newsfeed, we first have to seek out different friends and groups, i.e. people we don’t usually interact with on the platform and engage with them and their content. How else would Facebook have any idea that we were interested? Instead, we keep interacting with the same people, over and over again, increasing the chance that we will interact with them again, like a weird self-fulfilling prophecy.

But staying in a bubble is rarely healthy and usually quite boring.  I encourage you ALL to scroll through your friends list every so often and see what the folks you forgot you even knew are up to. You might be really glad you did! If nothing else, it will give Facebook’s algorithm something to do.