Facebook Just Made A Major Change To What Users See When They Open The Site

Facebook News Feed machineNicholas Carlson/Business InsiderThis is what the Facebook algorithm looks like. (Not really)

Facebook just changed the most important feature on the site — the “News Feed.”

The News Feed is the first thing you see every time you go to Facebook.com or open your Facebook app.

It’s a column of what Facebook calls “stories” photos, status updates, links, and whatever else your friends are sharing or doing.

The process Facebook goes through to decide what to show you in that feed is pretty complicated.

For the average Facebook user, there are about 1,500 “stories” could go in the column every time they open Facebook.

Until today, Facebook sorted those stories for you using the following process.

  1. It takes all the stories created since your last visit.

  2. It scores these stories based on factors. If the person who posted the story is close to you, it gets a higher score. If it has a lot of comments and likes, it gets a higher score. It’s a photo, which people love to look at, it gets a higher score.

  3. Then Facebook would sort those stories by their score.

If you come back an hour later, Facebook would go through the same process again crucially, starting once more with all the new stories created since your last visit.

The big change Facebook announced today is that now, when you come back, Facebook’s story scoring and ranking algorithm will look at all of the stories you have never seen, not just the stories created since you last visited.

In practice, that means if there was a story in your News Feed before, but you missed it because you didn’t scroll down to see it, Facebook will put it up top the next time you visit the site if Facebook believes that story is more relevant to you than all the new ones created since you last checked the site.

Facebook calls this tweak to its algorithm “story bumping.”

Another change to the News Feed that Facebook announced today is that it will now examine your 50 most recent actions on the site, and promote stories that seem to be your most current interest. If you “like” a specific person’s status updates one morning, you’re more likely to see a bunch more of them the rest of that day. The company calls this tweak “Last Actor.”

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