Facebook shifts News Feed, gives priority to friends

AFP , Tuesday 21 Apr 2015

Facebook said Tuesday it was reconfiguring its News Feed, in a move aimed at giving people more information about what is happening to "the friends you care about."

The world's biggest social network unveiled changes which decrease reliance on "referral" traffic -- or the sharing of news articles or other content.

"The goal of News Feed is to show you the content that matters to you," said a blog post by Facebook's Max Eulenstein and Lauren Scissors.

One of the key changes aims "to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it," the blog said.

To make room, Facebook will push down items such as commentary on a news story or another person's post.

"Many people have told us they don't enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post," Facebook said.

"This update will make these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all, so you are more likely to see the stuff you care about directly from friends and the pages you have liked."

Facebook also will relax its previous rule that prevented people from seeing multiple posts from the same source.

This change is aimed at "improving the experience for people who don't have a lot of content available to see," Eulenstein and Scissors wrote.

"Previously, we had rules in place to prevent you from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row. With this update, we are relaxing this rule. Now if you run out of content, but want to spend more time in News Feed, you'll see more."

While the changes could drive down the so-called referral traffic -- such as articles shared from newspapers -- Facebook is reported to be in talks with media organizations to host this content in an effort to better target news at specific readers.

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