What’s Driving Facebook’s Algorithmic Changes? We Explore Their Survey Results

For the past several months, we’ve heard about Facebook’s
impending algorithmic change, supporting their shift away from News
Feeds and toward more intimate venues for communication like Pages
and groups. But how are they driving these changes? We took a
closer look at some of their user updates, and have determined some
of the key factors that will impact how Pages and groups—perhaps
your Pages and groups—appear for users.

Identifying Close Friends

Historically, Facebook has looked for signals like frequency of
interaction, general sentiment of interactions, and engagement
behaviors like tagging, liking, and commenting, to determine who
your friends are. But a recent surveying initiative saw them asking
people who their closest friends on Facebook were. Combining this
zero
party data
” with first-party data obtained through
observation, Facebook believes it can customize a feed that
prioritizes the posts of friends you want to hear from and interact
with.

Lest folks be worried this will turn their feeds into an echo
chamber of sorts,
they caution
: “This doesn’t mean News Feed will be limited
to posts from only certain people and it doesn’t mean you will
necessarily see more friend content. Rather, you will likely see
posts from those you have close relationships with higher up in
your News Feed.” Further, they promise that their prediction
models are updated regularly, checking your stated preferences
against your behavior.

Clarifying Interest in Groups and Pages

As Facebook has said in recent months, the Facebook experience
is moving away from a News Feed model and toward the semi-private
communication that takes place on Pages or in groups. This means
that Facebook has had to do an audit of sorts for how people value
their participation in these spaces. Supplemental surveys were
deployed, and again the zero-party data was combined with
engagement metrics like length of time following a page, frequency
of engagement with said page, and how active administrators or
other members/followers engage.

The results of these surveys, combined with badging initiatives
that mark group or Page users with honorifics like “Conversation
Starter” or “Visual Storyteller,” will likely go a long way
to help people prioritize their role and contribution to these
spaces…just as Facebook prioritizes their support efforts to
growing and supporting these elements of the platform
experience.

Clarifying Importance of Groups and Pages

Sometimes, a user may not post somewhere often, but the posts
they do craft and share mean the world to them. As such, gauging
the level of interest in a group or Page by frequency of
interaction may not be correct. For this reason, Facebook’s
guiding surveys also inquired about which groups or Pages were most
important to a user. Looking for these markers as well as others
listed, “they will prioritize content from the Pages and groups
we think you care about most so that you see them higher in News
Feed.”

So What’s Next?

All of these changes will allegedly create a Facebook experience
that prioritizes people and connection, particularly those that are
impactful or meaningful to individual users. It’s a noble goal to
pursue, and in many ways will affect the polarized atmosphere that
has frequently been associated with the site. At the same time,
what could a social media platform where groups of people—who may
be congregating based on beliefs or values—are pushed to their
respective corners by design? The site’s latest campaign insists
it can help us be “More Together,” and this emphasis on what we
care about is a version of that. Whether this will solve the other
challenges that the platform faces, remains to be see- and will be
interesting to watch.

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The post
What’s Driving Facebook’s Algorithmic Changes? We Explore Their
Survey Results
appeared first on Social Media Week.

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What’s Driving Facebook’s Algorithmic Changes? We Explore Their Survey Results