Facebook’s Newsroom has been buzzing with a new metric the social media website is planning to roll out soon: analyzing how much time we spend on an item to surface more content of the sort in the future.
With millions of users worldwide, Facebook is now looking to tweak the way stories are displayed on the News feed in our Timeline’s adding this metric to usual analysis factors like commenting, sharing or liking a certain post.
From photos to status updates to stories sprung from pages we liked, Facebook will look at everything. So, say you’ve been admiring the funny cat photos or video that a friend posted. Regardless of not commenting upon it, sharing the said photo or video or even liking it, Facebook decided that if you spent more than 10 seconds browsing through comments or opened it, or simply forgot your computer open while a more urgent action was calling, your interest clearly lies in the sector of funny feline stories.
And chances are your News feed will feature increasingly more content of the sort than before. Attack of funny cat memes, videos and more.
Similar to opting into receiving feeds that are relevant to you or not, Facebook decided to sort the problem out for you. Spend more time on a post rather than just scrolling right past it, then that particular content type is deemed relevant to you.
Ansha Yu and Sami Tas, Facebook software engineers break it down for us in a blog post:
“We’ve discovered that if people spend significantly more time on a particular story in News Feed than the majority of other stories they look at, this is a good sign that content was relevant to them.”
Of course, this does not entail that previously factored in tweaks will be erased from the algorithm. Simply that drawing data on how much time one user spends on a certain feature in their News feed will add more valuable information on users’ interests and prompt Facebook’s internal workings to bring significantly more content to the front.
Some posts are of course lengthier than others. They take longer to read, longer to browse through. That won’t mean our News feed will be inundated by such posts. A tweak in the system will also be applied to that.
Time spent hovering, relative to content type and length of the post will rather be the prefered choice of action. And certainly, adding up to the existing matrix of other factors, such as liking, commenting or sharing a post which demonstrates a clear interest in the content.
Nonetheless, both software engineers stated that it is possible that News Feed will not change its content surfacing much due to this change.
The new factor might prove relevant or not, but with the feature set to roll out soon, we will be able to assess individually how it works and how it impacts what content we see on our News feed pages.
Image Source: worldnow.com