It looks like anyone working to reverse engineer the FB news feed algorithms will need to start anew; Facebook announced a couple of changes which will change what you read.
Much to the chagrin of Upworthy, Buzzfeed, and The Onion’s Clickhole, your new news feed will show fewer clickbait titles and more link and excerpt style posts.
Facebook says that they are responding to user surveys which showed that people readers valued informative titles over clickbait titles, and that “80% of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through”.
The social network indicates that they’ll be paying closer attention to the amount of time users spends away from the site after clicking a link, and how they interact with it after they come back. If a user returns immediately, or if a lot of users click a link but don’t like or interact, Facebook will conclude that they didn’t find something that they wanted.
The other major change FB made today was to give greater weight to links shared as updates, as opposed to links shared as a caption to an image.
As with clickbait titles, FB says that they have found that users prefer posts that offer more useful information rather than less. A link style post often includes an image, title, and either an excerpt or a slug. All that extra detail helps users decide whether a link is worth their time, so FB plans to give link style posts more space in your news feed.
Following an update in April, this is the second major update to the FB news feed this year. All in all, this is great news for anyone who posts substantial content without trying to game the system; it gives us a better chance of not being smothered by eye candy.