Recently Business Insider reported that things are not looking good for the newly launched native publishing platform Instant Articles by Facebook. After getting the media industry all tizzy, Facebook Instant Articles has gone silent. “But for all the initial panic and industry buzz, the actual launch has been much slower and less dramatic than anyone expected.”
However, the latest Facebook announcement indicates that the social network has been silently working in the background to keep the publishers happy so that they publish fast, interactive articles on the social network. One of the tweaks that Facebook has done is with News Feed. Till now the overly complicated News Feed used to consider liking, commenting and sharing as major factors in determining the mix. But from now on Facebook is adding time spent, after its research showed that people don’t always like or comment on stories that they find meaningful.
According to the research done by Facebook, there have been times people want to see information about a serious current event, but don’t necessarily want to like or comment on it. “Based on this finding, we are updating News Feed’s ranking to factor in a new signal—how much time you spend viewing a story in your News Feed,” Facebook said on its blog.
Describing how the algorithm will show content, Facebook informed it is going to find out the kind of content one spends more time on the News Feed. “You spend time reading her post and the interesting discussion about the best places to eat that had broken out in the comments on this post, but you don’t feel inclined to like or comment on it yourself. Based on the fact that you didn’t scroll straight past this post and it was on the screen for more time than other posts that were in your News Feed, we infer that it was something you found interesting and we may start to surface more posts like that higher up in your News Feed in the future.”
Facebook said the change is starting today and will continue rolling out in the coming weeks. However the company said that it didn’t expect Pages to see “significant changes in distribution” because of the update.
Right now time spent on stories might not be of a great value but let’s say you start reading more of the content published by BuzzFeed on Instant Article Facebook’s platform. According to the algorithm since you have spent good time on the story, so here on your News Feed will see more of BuzzFeed articles.
Evidently the latest tweak on the News Feed favors media organizations or publishers so that they push their content on Facebook rather than posting links to articles or other material on their sites.