Have you finally adjusted to the way that Facebook’s News Feed works? Well, don’t get too used to it. Facebook has announced yet another tweak to the News Feed, this time tracking how long you spend looking at an Instant Article or post within the mobile app.
The company will use this information to serve up articles that it thinks you’ll spend more time looking at, ideally improving your News Feed experience, and making sure you spend as long as possible on Facebook.
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“With this change, we can better understand which articles might be interesting to you based on how long you and others read them, so you’ll be more likely to see stories you’re interested in reading,” said software engineer Moshe Blank, and research scientist Jie Xu, in a joint blog post.
According to Facebook, users don’t necessarily always click on or react to articles that really interest them — a better indicator of interest is instead how long they actually spend looking at what they clicked on.
The changes are part of Facebook’s Feed Quality Program, which is essentially an effort to improve the quality of posts that people might see on their News Feed. The idea is that Facebook will hopefully be able to cut down on the amount of clickbait on the News Feed — if someone clicks on a clickbait article and then realizes it was clickbait, it will still be demoted because they won’t have spent much time on the article.
Facebook is also looking at ways to diversify the News Feed, having found that users got frustrated when they saw a slew of posts from the same publisher. Now, Facebook will try and spread out the posts you see to be from a range of different publishers.
The new News Feed is rolling out now, and will continue to roll out over the next few weeks.