There are times when you see stories in your Facebook NewsFeed which are interesting but you can not like. For example, a story about some natural calamity is obviously of interest to you, but liking it feels kind of weird.
To help you with that, Facebook has announced a major tweak in its NewsFeed algorithm, which will now also take into account, the amount of time you spend on one particular story, apart from the usual liking and commenting factors.
This new tweak comes on the backdrop of a recent survey, which Facebook has been conducting with people, asking them to rate their experience and tell the social network about possible improvement to the content they see when they check Facebook.
Based on the numerous feedback which Facebook received, it is bringing on this change in News Feed’s ranking to factor in a new signal—how much time you spend viewing a story in your News Feed.
Detailing what all factors it will be considering to measure time spent by the user, Facebook says that it won’t be just the seconds you spend on a post which Facebook will be considering, it will take into account whether you spend “significant amount of time” on one post as compared to others. This has been done to avoid confusions, wherein at times you spend say 10 seconds on a post because you like it, and 10 seconds on a different post probably because of a slow internet connection.
Facebook engineers Ansha Yu and Sami Tas explain,
For example, you may scroll quickly through your News Feed and like a photo of your friend’s graduation, followed by sharing a funny post from your sister. You keep scrolling and happen upon a post your cousin shared detailing everything she did and saw on her recent trip.
Her post even includes a photo. You spend time reading her post and the interesting discussion about the best places to eat that had broken out in the comments on this post, but you don’t feel inclined to like or comment on it yourself. B
Based on the fact that you didn’t scroll straight past this post and it was on the screen for more time than other posts that were in your News Feed, we infer that it was something you found interesting and we may start to surface more posts like that higher up in your News Feed in the future.
To differentiate between such similar, yet different instances, Facebook’s new algorithm will only take into consideration, a significant spike in the amount of time you spend on one story as compared to others.
Facebook has alreayd started rolling out these changes and you will notice the same on your News Feed in the coming weeks. As for page owners, Facebook says that you will not see much of a difference in the way your content has been distributed across Facebook.