Facebook is rolling out a new algorithm that will promote “authentic” content in the News Feed as it continues its clampdown on posts that are “misleading, sensational or spammy.” It is also tweaking the algorithm to give a boost to real-time viral content so that users get the latest, most relevant news available.
The social media giant has developed a new way of categorising Pages in order to determine whether it is posting fake news, clickbait headlines or trying to “game feed” for likes, comments and shares. It used these inauthentic Pages to develop a new algorithm that detects other misleading content shared on the platform in order to penalise it accordingly.
The move is the latest by Facebook in its battle against fake news. It launched a number of features updates in January, including the introduction of third-party fact checkers to verify the quality of news stories as well as post warning labels for users. This followed allegations that fake news on the site played a role in helping Donald Trump to win the US Presidential Election late last year.
“We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed,” Facebook said in an official blog post. “Some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic or outbound clicks, and some Pages might see minor decreases. Pages should continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences.”
Facebook also announced changes to how viral content will be ranked in the News Feed, as it wants to surface new and emerging stories more quickly. This means that a popular topic with a lot of engagement from users will now be promoted more prominently while it’s hot. “For example, if your favourite [football] 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,” the social media giant added.
Facebook has been working hard on serving up more relevant content for users in recent weeks. It updated its Trending feature in January to ensure that numerous new organisations cover a particular story before it shows up in the Trending tab while also scaling back personalisation to deliver important news to everyone.