Facebook tunes news feed rankings

2013-08-07 07:25
Facebook. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Facebook. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Menlo Park - Facebook's quest to be a personalised newspaper for the internet age continued on Tuesday with tweaks aimed at making sure members spy hot stories from their friends.

Changes to the leading social network's formula for figuring out which posts will be of interest included "bumping" up potentially intriguing stories that went unnoticed during prior visits to Facebook.

"It is hard for users to get back to old things; you have to scroll through things you have already seen," Facebook news feed team engineering Lars Backstrom said while discussing the latest changes.

"We wanted to make it so people weren't missing important stories that didn't make top slots but were just below the fold."

Signals weighed in the machine learning algorithm were modified to bump-up a story considered more interesting than fresher material that formerly got priority simply for being newer.

Modified

"We tweaked the model," Backstrom said, noting that about 30 000 signals are balanced in the algorithm.

"Instead of just taking the new stories, we would take all stories that were new to you, that you haven't seen, even if it isn't the freshest."

A test of the change showed that the number of stories people read in news feeds rose to 70% from 57% with "bumping", according to Facebook.

"Story Bumping is going to be a really nice tool for people if they... are sitting with a Facebook account and have run out of things to look at," said Facebook vice president of product Chris Cox. "It will bump up new stuff."

News feeds were also modified to take into account the "last actor" a member interacted with and then give that friend's posts temporary priority since they seem to be up to something interesting.

"We wanted to capture your current state of mind as you were using Facebook," Backstrom said.

"A lot of signals are long term, such as the relationship with each friend; we wanted a real time factor."

Facebook's ranking software assigns numerical scores to the roughly 1 500 stories typically eligible for delivery to a member's news feed and displays the top 300.

Ads

Powerful factors for ranking are relationships, along with how often a member comments, shares, "likes", or otherwise acts on posts of friends. Hiding posts sinks content from that person in news feed rankings.

"Our goal is to create the best personalised newspaper for each of our readers," Backstrom said.

Facebook engineers are experimenting with ways for News Feeds to better handle chronological posts, such as a friend firing off play-by-play updates from a sporting event.

Backstrom's team meets on each Tuesday to brainstorm ways to improve the Facebook news feed, with worthwhile ideas tested internally among workers or with a tiny fraction of the social network's more than one billion members.

"It starts with intuition and then that gets written into code as a feature," said Cox. "Then we look at interactions."

Ads displayed as promoted posts in news feeds are handled separately from content generated by people's friends or family members at Facebook, according to the ranking team.

"We figure out the most relevant news feed with the organic content, and then, as a newspaper or television programme might do, we create advertising slots," said Facebook product manager Will Cathcart.

Backstrom compared the job of ranking news feed posts to the challenge faced by internet search engines Google or Bing when it comes to quickly determining optimal results for queries.

"Facebook is one of the only places where you have a problem on the same scale as what Google or Bing is doing but you have to use different techniques because of the personal aspects of it," Backstrom said.
Read more on:    facebook  |  social networks
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

LOL! Best outdoor girl fails

It’s not only guys who have FAIL moments! Here are some of the funniest outdoor fails where girls are the victims!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

90-year-old's incredible travels
10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Halloween night run
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Compliance Officer

Cape Town CBD
Hi-Tech Recruitment - Cape Town
R30 000 - R40 000 Per Month

iOS Developer

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R25 000 - R35 000 Per Month

Admin Manager/Jnr. Bookeeper (Construction Industry) Somerset West

Somerset West
West Coast Personnel
R11 000 - R13 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be some tension that is caused through social conflicts -- personal interests versus obligations. You may feel an...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.