What’s Happening:

Facebook has announced two rankings updates based on surveys it’s conducted, to make the News Feed more personal and connect people to posts they find most relevant. It’s not about the amount of time people spend on the social media platform that matters the most, but rather the quality of time spent.

Why It Matters

To that end, Facebook aims to understand what people are already doing on the site, and use surveys to gather more context about the posts they want to see. The two updates based on these surveys are: one that prioritizes the friends a user might want to hear from most, and one that prioritizes the links they might consider most worthwhile.

Digging Deeper

Facebook has historically predicted who people might want to hear from based on signals like how often they interact with a given friend, how many mutual friends they have, and whether they mark someone as a close friend. In addition to understanding these signals, the surveys they have conducted ask users to list the friends they are closest to. Facebook then looked at the patterns that emerge from those results, including photo tagging, reactions and comments to the same posts, and checking-in at the same places, to inform its algorithm to predict which friends people may want to hear from most.

Because these user preferences and close friends change over time, these prediction models and surveys are continuously updated.

The second survey concerned the posts that people care most about seeing and interacting with. These responses help Facebook identify signs that someone might find a link worthwhile, and combines that with other information such as the type of post, who it’s from and the engagement it’s received. Based on the results, Facebook is updating News Feed to show users the links it predicts they will find most worthwhile.

The Bottom Line

“These changes aren’t meant to show more or less from Pages or friends,” Facebook reported. “Rather, the Page links that are surfaced to people will be ones they find worth their time — and the friend posts will be from friends people want to hear from most.”

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