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Facebook to show you more of your friends

Changes to the Facebook News Feed mean more baby pics, fewer stories from publishers

Facebook is tweaking the design of its News Feed to ensure users see more updates from their friends and less material from media publishers. The News Feed is a cause of much frustration amongst Facebook users, with the site seemingly determined to show you what it thinks you’re interested in, rather than letting users decide for themselves. Browser plugins such as Social Fixer, which allow users to customise their own feeds, have grown in popularity in recent years.

Perhaps wary of such frustration, Facebook says it’s taking steps to ensure users see more updates from their close friends at the top of their feeds. The social network says it has “learned that people are worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about,” in a blog post explaining the changes. The company claims one of three updates to the News Feed will “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 social network is also cutting down on the amount of tangential chaff that is posted on behalf of your friends. “Many people have told us they don’t enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post,” Facebook concedes. “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.”

Perhaps as a sop to the publishers, who are likely to see their stories getting less exposure on News Feeds, the third change sees Facebook amend rules that prevents publishers appearing twice in users’ News Feeds. “Previously, we had rules in place to prevent you from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row,” says Facebook. “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.”

However, Facebook admits publishers could see a drop off in traffic as a result of the changes. “In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline,” the blog states. 

It’s been a turbulent week for website owners attempting to drive traffic to their sites. Yesterday, Google implemented changes to its search algorithm which could potentially see sites that aren’t deemed mobile-friendly drop down the search rankings.  


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