Viral stories and videos in News Feed aren’t always very interesting, and Facebook doesn’t want this to push away users.
On Friday, Facebook announced it is updating its algorithm to give users more control over how high viral content appears in their News Feed. With the update, Facebook will use feedback from story surveys, which ask users to choose whether they would prefer to see a specific viral post over another post, to help determine where the viral post will be placed. Facebook said it surveys tens of thousands of users per day, and that the move was inspired in part by comments from users that they didn’t like seeing viral posts about hoaxes.
“If there is a viral story about a hoax, it can get a lot of reshares and comments, which would normally help us infer it might be an interesting story,” Facebook engineer Sami Tas and data scientist Ta Virot Chiraphadhanakul said in a post. “However, we’ve heard feedback that people don’t want to see these stories as much as other posts in their News Feed.”
“With the hoaxes example, if the majority of people taking the survey say they would rather see another story in their feed than the viral hoax story, then we’ll infer the story might not be as interesting, and show the viral story lower down in people’s feeds in the future,” they added.
If people surveyed do select the viral post over another post, the placement of the viral story won’t change, Facebook said. The social media giant also said the update shouldn’t affect the placement of publishers’ posts, as viral content doesn’t appear regularly.