Tech Overlook

Using Surveys to Make News Feed More Personal


By Ramya Sethuraman, Product Manager, Jordi Vallmitjana, Product Manager, and Jon Levin, Technical Program Manager

The goal of News Feed is to connect people with the posts they find most relevant. As we’ve said in the past, it’s not about the amount of time someone spends on Facebook, but rather the quality of time spent. That means making sure people see what they want to see – whether that’s posts from family and friends or news articles and videos from Pages they follow.

To do this, we try to understand what people are already doing on Facebook — what they like, comment on and share. We also use surveys to get more context about the posts people want to see and who they want to see them from. Today, we are announcing two ranking updates based on surveys we’ve conducted: one prioritizes the friends someone might want to hear from most and the other prioritizes the links a person might consider most worthwhile.

Better Connecting You With the People You Care About

We’ve historically predicted who people might want to hear from based on signals like how often they interact with a given friend, how many mutual friends they have and whether they mark someone as a close friend.

Now, in addition to understanding these signals, we’ve begun surveying people on Facebook to ask them to list the friends they are closest to. We look at the patterns that emerge from the results, some of which include being tagged in the same photos, continuously reacting and commenting on the same posts and checking-in at the same places — and then use these patterns to inform our algorithm. This direct feedback helps us better predict which friends people may want to hear from most.

This doesn’t mean News Feed will be limited to posts from only certain people and it doesn’t mean you will necessarily see more friend content. Rather, you will likely see posts from those you have close relationships with higher up in your News Feed.

We also know that whomever you want to hear from right now may not be who you want to hear from in a year, or even a few months. Our prediction models are continuously updated based on the interactions people have with their friends on Facebook. We will also continue to survey people to make sure we understand how new actions and interests map to the friends you want to hear from most.

Better Connecting You With the Posts You Care About

Last month we explained that as a part of our continued effort to show people relevant posts, we were surveying people to ask what posts they thought were worth their time. Based on these surveys, we are updating News Feed to show people links we predict they will find worthwhile.

Similar to the above update, we use these responses to identify signs that someone might find a link worth their time. We then combine these factors with information we have about the post, including the type of post, who it’s from and the engagement it’s received, to more accurately predict whether people are likely to find a link valuable.

How Will This Impact My Page?

These changes aren’t meant to show more or less from Pages or friends. Rather, the Page links that are surfaced to people will be ones they find worth their time — and the friend posts will be from friends people want to hear from most.



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