Facebook pushes news to the top

Caitlin McGarry
3 December, 2013
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Facebook wants to be your newspaper. You already read updates from your friends and family with your morning coffee, but only about half of you get actual news – we’re talking world events here, people – from the social network. Facebook wants to change that.

So your News Feed is going to look a little different soon. Facebook said on Monday that it is going to differentiate news articles from random content, like meme photos from other sites. Articles or content Facebook deems ‘high quality’ will get special treatment.

“We’ve noticed that people enjoy seeing articles on Facebook, and so we’re now paying closer attention to what makes for high-quality content, and how often articles are clicked on from News Feed on mobile,” the company said in a Monday blog post. “What this means is that you may start to notice links to articles a little more often (particularly on mobile).”

Facebook is reportedly working on a read-it-later feature for mobile, according to AllThingsD, but it’s unclear if or when that feature will roll out, or how it will affect the news content you see in your News Feed.

You’ll see news more prominently, and to keep you in that scholarly mood,

Welcome to the new Facebook News Feed.

Facebook plans to surface related news after you finish an article.

In August, Facebook tweaked its algorithms to push more interesting status updates to the top of the News Feed. Now that selective ranking applies to some articles shared on the network. If your friends are sharing or commenting on a news story, Facebook will push that story back to the top once you’ve read it, so you can see what your friends said about it. Maybe you’ll decide to comment, too, and start a conversation.

Facebook wants to prove its worth as a media partner – in October, media sites saw referral traffic from Facebook triple over the year before. In September, the social network began partnering with news organisations to display event-related Facebook conversations in embeddable Public Feeds.

Twitter still has an edge over Facebook when it comes to delivering news to the masses in unique ways, including its recent Event Parrot experiment with pushing out breaking news alerts to users. Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project research found in October that most people get news on Facebook by accident. The social network is trying to make that discovery more purposeful and personalised with this latest effort.

by Caitlin McGarry, TechHive

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