Facebook is updating the algorithm of its News Feed as it attempts to crackdown on clickbait.
On Friday, the social network revealed that it would be updating its News Feed in order to give priority to posts that people actually read, rather than on ones that they just ‘Like’ or visit briefly and then bounce right back.
Facebook says it has analysed data from thousands of users in order to try and improve user experience when using the News Feed.
Facebook says that users liking, clicking, sharing and commenting on posts doesn’t necessarily give a true reflection on what content is popular.
From now on, Facebook will also use click through rate and time spent reading the linked content as a metric in order to give greater prominence to posts in the News Feeds of its users.
“The actions people take on Facebook – liking, clicking, commenting or sharing a post – don’t always tell us the whole story of what is most meaningful to them,” read Facebook’s post.
“We’re learning that the time people choose to spend reading or watching content they clicked on from News Feed is an important signal that the story was interesting to them”, it added.
However, Facebook also confirmed that the time spent watching or reading content will be carefully monitored so that longer form content is then not unfairly prioritised.
While Facebook wont be able to gather information once a user clicks on a link and leaves its site from a desktop, it will be able to record this information from users of its mobile app. Its introduction of Instant Articles, which displays content from major news publishers without requiring the user to leave Facebook’s mobile app suggests that the company has a pretty good idea as to how long users spend reading content and what type of content it should prioritise.
In another major update to its News Feed algorithm, which is to be rolled out at the same time as the tweak mentioned above, Facebook also said it will: “reduce how often people see several posts in a row from the same source in their News Feed”.
By doing this Facebook hopes users will be able to see content from a wider variety of sources and will also help to prevent users from seeing lots of posts from the same source clogging up their News Feed.