How the Facebook Algorithm controls your News Feed
If you are saying to yourself; “Wait, Facebook has an Algorithm?” you’re not alone. Many of us assume that the Facebook News Feed is simply a real time stream of the posts and comments from our friends and ‘Liked’ Pages. In reality, it’s more complex than that. Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to show us what it thinks we want to see, and what we are most interested in.
Algorithms are ubiquitous on the Web, and they have a huge impact on the information we consume, our tastes, buying habits and online activity. Amazon’s algorithm will help shoppers find what they are looking for, and suggest other relevant items to purchase. Pandora uses an algorithm to play a soundtrack that is perfect for each listener. And perhaps most widely understood, Google’s algorithm helps us find the answer to just about ANY question we have.
But how do algorithms affect your Facebook News Feed?
In this post, I’ll outline what kinds of things EdgeRank is more likely to show you, and give you a few tips on how you can tweak your News Feed to be customized just for you.
- Lots of engagement! The more likes, comments and shares a post gets, the more likely it is to be shown to more people. Timing is also a factor here – a large volume of engagement in a short amount of time will increase the post’s visibility.
- Pictures and Videos; Posts with pictures or videos are favoured over simple text, and also tend to get more engagement (see #1). Taking this one step further, if you click on video posts more than anything else in your News Feed, EdgeRank will likely show you more videos in your feed.
- What your friends like; Who is engaging with a post will also play a role in a post’s visibility. Friends who engage with each other more often will be more likely to see each other’s posts. Also, if a fan base of one page overlaps with the fan base of another popular page, posts will be more likely shared in more Feeds.
- Originality; Content that has never been posted or shared before will also be rewarded by EdgeRank, and will be more likely to be seen by more people.
Ok, so, now you know that your News Feed isn’t just a real time stream. Fear not, you can adjust your Feed to your liking!
(Stay tuned for my next post where I will provide some simple tips on what you can do to change what you see in your News Feed.)
- To view your News Feed preferences:
- Click in the top-right corner of any Facebook page (ex: your home page)
- SelectNews Feed Preferences
- ClickPeople, Pages or Groups to sort by category, and then click Alphabetical Order if you want to see one of those lists in alphabetical order
To adjust your News Feed preferences, you can:
- ClickFollowing next to any person, Page or group to unfollow them and stop seeing their stories in your News Feed
- ClickFollow next to any person, Page or group you’ve unfollowed to start seeing stories from them again
From within NewsFeed, you can also tweak what you see. Have you ever ‘Liked’ a page, and then found your news feed over run with their posts? Fear not, you do not have to unfollow them! Next time you see something in your news feed that isn’t relevant, or that you don’t like, you can give Facebook (and EdgeRank) some feedback. You can choose to hide that particular story, See less from that person (or page) or unfollow them all together.
- Click on the in the top right of the story. This will open a drop down menu with some options. Choose “I don’t want to see this”, and you will then have to option to hide that particular post, or to see less from that person or page.
- Seems tedious, but does have an impact on what you see, and is worth the effort.
- Use Friends lists to organize friends, acquaintances and Restricted, or create custom lists. Once you have some lists, a couple of things will happen. When you post, you can choose your audience. Whether it’s all friends, close friends, public or a custom list, like coworkers. You can have more control over what posts are seen by whom. Also, you are going to see more stories an updates from the people in your close friends list