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Facebook: Incorporating More Feedback Into News Feed Ranking

Our goal with News Feed is to arrange the posts from friends, Groups and Pages you follow to show you what matters most to you at the top of your feed. Our algorithm uses thousands of signals to rank posts for your News Feed with this goal in mind. This spring, we’re expanding on our…

Our goal with News Feed is to arrange the posts from friends, Groups and Pages you follow to show you what matters most to you at the top of your feed. Our algorithm uses thousands of signals to rank posts for your News Feed with this goal in mind. This spring, we’re expanding on our work to use direct feedback from people who use Facebook to understand the content people find most valuable. And we’ll continue to incorporate this feedback into our News Feed ranking process.

Expanding on “Worth Your Time” Surveys

In 2019, we introduced surveys to ask people, “Is this post worth your time?” and we use that feedback to inform how we arrange posts in their News Feed going forward. For example, if people say a post is worth their time, we’ll aim to show posts like that higher in News Feed, and if it isn’t worth their time, we’ll aim to show posts like that closer to the bottom. We also use surveys to better understand how meaningful different friends, Pages, and Groups are to people, and ranking algorithms are updated based on the responses. While a post’s engagement — or how often people like it, comment on it, or share it — can be a helpful indicator that it’s interesting to people, this survey-driven approach, which largely occurs outside the immediate reaction to a post, gives a more complete picture of the types of posts people find most valuable and what kind of content detracts from their News Feed experience. Now, we’re building on these surveys by asking new questions about the content people find valuable as well as the content people don’t enjoy seeing in their News Feed.

Exploring More Feedback-Driven Signals

Over the next few months, we’ll test new ways to get more specific feedback from people about the posts they’re seeing, and we’ll use that feedback to make News Feed better.  Here are some of the new approaches we’re exploring:

  • Whether people find a post inspirational: People have told us they want to see more inspiring and uplifting content in News Feed because it motivates them and can be useful to them outside of Facebook. For example, a post featuring a quote about community can inspire someone to spend more time volunteering, or a photo of a national park can inspire someone to spend more time in nature. To this end, we’re running a series of global tests that will survey people to understand which posts they find inspirational. We’ll incorporate their responses as a signal in News Feed ranking, with the goal of showing people more inspirational posts closer to the top of their News Feed.

New Feeds ranking product mock

  • Gauging interest in certain topics: Even though your News Feed contains posts from the friends, Groups and Pages you’ve chosen to follow, we know sometimes even your closest friends and family share posts about topics that aren’t really interesting to you, or that you don’t want to see. To address this, we’ll ask people whether they want to see more or fewer posts about a certain topic, such as Cooking, Sports or Politics, and based on their collective feedback, we’ll aim to show people more content about the topics they’re more interested in, and show them fewer posts about topics they don’t want to see.
  • Better understanding content people want to see less of:  Increasingly, we’re hearing feedback from people that they’re seeing too much content about politics and too many other kinds of posts and comments that detract from their News Feed experience. This is a sensitive area, so over the next few months, we’ll work to better understand what kinds of content are linked with these negative experiences. For example, we’ll look at posts with lots of angry reactions and ask people what kinds of posts they may want to see less of.
  • Making it easier to give feedback directly on a post: We’ve long given people the ability to hide a particular post they encounter in News Feed, and we’ll soon test a new post design to make this option even more prominent. If you come across something that you find irrelevant, problematic or irritating, you can tap the X in the upper right corner of the post to hide it from your News Feed and see fewer posts like it in the future.

Overall, we hope to show people more content they want to see and find valuable, and less of what they don’t. While engagement will continue to be one of many types of signals we use to rank posts in News Feed, we believe these additional insights can provide a more complete picture of the content people find valuable, and we’ll share more as we learn from these tests.

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