News Feed to dish more 'high quality content,' irrelevant memes need not apply

Facebook news feed changes
Hopefully fewer Ben Affleck Batman emes

Facebook News Feed changes aren't stopping with story bumping, as the social network announced today that it intends to display more "high quality content" from Pages.

"Our goal is to show the right content to the right people at the right time so they don't miss the stories that are important to them," wrote Facebook Software Engineer Varun Kacholia on an official blog post.

"Our latest update to the News Feed ranking algorithm helps ensure that the organic content people see from Pages they are connected to is the most interesting to them."

That means Facebook users are going to see more relevant content, and Page owners may have to tweak their posting strategies to keep up with the new algorithm.

Survey says

Determining high-quality content over lower-valued Page Spam takes into account over a thousand different factors, according to Kacholia.

Facebook refined its News Feed algorithm through survey results and a new machine learning system that detects good content as defined by what users want to see.

"The system uses over a thousand different factors," wrote Kacholia.

"[This includes] how frequently content from a certain Page is reported as low quality (e.g., hiding a Page post), how complete the Page profile is, and whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base of other known high quality Pages."

Testing out the new algorithm, Facebook reported that it saw a significant increase in interactions of likes, comments and shares with this content.

Most importantly for Pages, the beta testers hid fewer stories.

As the new News Feed algorithm for pages rolls out over the next few weeks, Kacholia suggested that Page owners keep up with timely and relevant posts and engage users. In other words, irrelevant memes need not apply.

Facebook gifts redesign

The gift that won't keep on giving

Let's not gift physical, physical

One of the News Feed elements that didn't jive with the Facebook community were physical gifts sent from one user to another via the social network.

That's why, starting today, 10% of people on Facebook will have access to a new gifts store sans physical items, according to TechCrunch.

The digital gifts store has its own landing page, not a tiny window overlay that pops up, and store owners and brands can link to their own gift shops through dedicated URLs.

"The whole point of Gifts is to learn about commerce on Facebook and build a product that users wants," said Facebook Gifts Manager Lee Linden to TechCrunch.

"We're going to improve commerce overall on Facebook in a number of ways. Gifts is a natural extension but not the end."

The new Facebook gifts store will work its way throughout the social network's U.S. user base over the next few weeks.

Matt Swider