While any change to the News Feed on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will bring millions of complaints from its users for roughly a week, Facebook announced at an event today that it is planning to add transparency to the algorithm used to determine what shows up where and when in users’ News Feeds.
The invitation to the event read, “talking about News Feed, and taking a deeper look at the ranking algorithms that determine which stories appear at the top of your feed. We’ll be discussing a specific update to organic ranking that’s coming up.”
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Facebook users ignoring News Feed settings
The News Feed ranking algorithm, unofficially known as “EdgeRank,” uses how close you are to someone, how popular a post is with others, how recently it was published, and many other signals to decide which posts and actions to display most prominently. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is hoping that with a greater understanding of the algorithm both users and brands will spend more in “promoted posts” and advertisements respectively.
While there exist a number of options for users to adjust their News Feed, they have largely gone unused by most, given the time commitment and various locations that users must navigate through in order to affect these changes including hovering, drop-down menus, and friend options. Users have seemingly found it easier to simply scroll through their feeds quickly, rather than taking the time necessary to change how the feed is presented to them.
Facebook rolling out ads in spite of anticipated ire from members
This News Feed event comes on the heels of an announcement made last week where Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said it would begin incorporating 15-second video ads into the News Feed, a change which will certainly bring the ire out of a large portion of Facebook users.
“Given its similarity to TV, we believe the 15 second ad spots are a meaningful addition to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) as a platform and expect the experience with the ads will be optimised around giving the user control over sound,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in a research note.
“In other words, we expect the video ads will not be standard 15 second pre-rolls like YouTube ads; rather users will see the ads start streaming immediately as they scroll through their News Feed, somewhat similar to Vine, and will have the control to turn on sound if the video is interesting.”