Is Facebookgeddon finally here?
For the past year and a half, a number of publishers and Facebook page owners have benefited from a surge of traffic sent to them by the social network. Publishers post content to Facebook with links, and thousands — or millions — of Facebook users see it and interact with it.
But publishers have also known that the flood of traffic may not last, and Facebook says it’s making three big changes to its NewsFeed algorithm that could mean these traffic glory days may soon be over soon.
“We want to let you know about a change that may affect referral traffic for publishers,” Facebook product manager Max Eulestein and user experience researcher Lauren Scissors wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline.”
Here are the three big changes, as outlined by Scissors and Eulestein.
- Facebook users will now be able to see more than one NewsFeed post from the same source in a row. Facebook’s algorithm previously prevented that. Facebook says it’s “relaxing this rule” so that users who don’t see much content in their feeds can start seeing more.
- Facebook will start prioritising NewsFeed content posted by friends. “The second update tries 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,” Facebook writes. It says you’ll still see content from news organisations and Facebook pages you enjoy though.
- Facebook will begin hiding posts that say what your friends have liked or commented on. This sounds like it could really diminish a publisher’s second-hand reach. “This update will make these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all,” Facebook says.
Other publisher changes may also be coming to Facebook shortly. The New York Times reported that a few publishers may soon be publishing articles to Facebook directly before posting them to their websites.
We’ve reached out to Facebook for more information about the changes and will update when we hear back.