Facebook has been fighting hard to fix the fake news problem that has been haunting it big time recently. They have been making efforts to identify the root cause and to fix this problem. In this direction, they have announced that they will be incorporating new changes to the newsfeed algorithm
Facebook has come out with two algorithm updates, one of which is focused on timely signals to improve prominence of news stories and the other to better rank authentic content.
When ranking News Feed, Facebook looks at many signals personal to you, such as how close you are to the person or Page posting, as well as more universal signals like the overall engagement (likes, comments, shares) that a post has.
With the latest update, they are adding new universal signals to determine whether a post might be authentic. To do this, they have categorized Pages to identify whether or not they were posting spam or trying to game feed by doing things like asking for likes, comments or shares.Then the posts from these Pages were used to train a model that continuously identifies whether posts from other Pages are likely to be authentic. For example, if Page posts are often being hidden by people reading them, that’s a signal that it might not be authentic.
If a post is likely to be authentic based on the new signals they look at, it might show up higher in your feed.
So effectively, authenticity is based on a number of factors, including categorizing Pages to identify whether they’ve solicited likes or posted spam in the past. If you run a Page that has tried to game the Facebook feed, consider yourself unlucky. Asking for likes, comments or shares is a no-no, and this update will likely penalize you whether or not the content you share is authentic. They also leverage user behavior; if posts are hidden by the user, Facebook considers the Page’s contents to be unauthentic.
Facebook also looks at real-time signals to amplify visibility of posts. These signals include recent comments from friends or post Likes. If there’s “a lot of engagement … about a topic or a Page is getting a lot of engagement,” Facebook’s algorithm will consider that topic important and improve its visibility on the feed.
For example, if your favorite cricket team just won a game, we might show you posts about the game higher up in News Feed because people are talking about it more broadly on Facebook.
Facebook says that this might minimally impact Pages — but it subtly suggests that marketers should not encourage suspicious activity to improve post visibility. It might have worked once in the past, but it looks like they’ve caught on.
While this looks like a good and welcome step towards fixing the problem that most of social media has been grappling with, it is to be seen whether it makes a significant impact in that direction or not. Such changes to the NewsFeed have a way of sometimes affecting the numbers of pages and hence the strategy of the digital marketers that run them. Let us see how this goes. For the time being, it looks like you have to ask for Facebook page likes on twitter from now on. We will keep you posted on further developments as they happen.