Facebook Changes Newsfeed Making Friends Post More Prominent

July 5, 2016

Facebook announced an upcoming algorithmic change to the newsfeed which will result in less referrals from business pages and more posts from friends at the top of your feed. Facebook is going to rank posts from your friends higher than posts from pages you liked.

Facebook views friend posts as the lifeblood of the service and vital to keeping users coming back. "Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook," stated Lars Backstrom, Facebook's Engineering Director. "That's why today, we're announcing an upcoming change to News Feed ranking to help make sure you don't miss stories from your friends."

In April 2015 Facebook made a change that moved friends posts higher up in the news feed, so the latest update must have ratcheted up the ranking of post from friends even more. The language used in their announcement, "people with many connections" and "the things posted by the friends you care about" indicates that this ranking change is focused on the friends that you engage with regularly. The change means you will see more posts from your best friends on Facebook and their posts will replace business page posts, moving them down the newsfeed.

If you rely on Facebook traffic for your publishing, business or ecommerce website realize that your Facebook referrals will likely go down, and my guess is way down. Historically, when Facebook makes a ranking change that they actually announce, it usually results in a clear and noticeable outcome. From Facebook's perspective, they want users to feel the positive impact of the change.

Facebook knows that it is in a fight for user attention from all kinds of sources, but especially other social media platforms such as Snapchat, Twitter and even Facebook owned Instagram. Faceboook actually reported an increase in Facebook usage with their first quarter results announcement, saying that the average time people spend on Facebook has gone up, from around 40 minutes in 2014 to 50 minutes today. Unfortunately, that number includes Instagram, which muddies the waters on whether Facebook itself is seeing increased engagement. It also may be indicative of an increased amount of video content from newsfeed shares and from Facebook Live, which is something Facebook is counting on for its future growth. Another report, by The Information, shows a a 21% decline in "original sharing," indicating that its users are still on Facebook reading and watching videos and probably sharing them, but they are posting less themselves. That should be concerning to Facebook.

Facebook's Core Newsfeed Values

Facebook also announced their Core Values, apparently as a response the allegations of political bias against conservatives. Facebook knows that everyone's Facebook news feed is unique but one core principal is that the newsfeed should center on a persons friends and family. "Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook," commented Adam Mosseri, the VP of Product Management for the Facebook News Feed. "That's why if it's from your friends, it's in your feed, period — you just have to scroll down."

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