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Facebook to Monitor News Feed Timing


As if Facebook's parameters for activity monitoring weren't creepy enough already, your news feed will soon shift its focus depending on exactly how much time you spend looking at particular items. Whereas before it was largely based on which items you liked, commented on and shared, now it's a matter of how long you spent looking at a particular status update, photo album or whatever else. It extends beyond that though, if you're spending a long time looking at a particular thing, Facebook figures your friends will probably be interested as well.

The guiding principle behind this change, at least according to Facebook's news room is that likes and comments aren't necessarily reflective of which posts are popular. This will shift the weight towards posts which people take their time to look at, but don't necessarily directly interact with. For instance, a post by someone declaring that they've passed their driving test is quick and easy to understand, and typically warrants a lot of likes because it's good news, whereas someone might post a link to a political article of some sort and once people are done reading it, they will likely go back to scrolling without liking it or commenting on it unless they have a particular point to make. With this new system, both posts will be balanced out.

Of course, sometimes people's reasons for lurking around a particular post aren't quite so innocent. Say, for example, somebody's relationship status changes from 'in a relationship' to 'single'. All the usual sympathies are extended, and all of a sudden this person's updates and photos start getting much more exposure, why? Because interested singles are stalking their profile. While that kind of thing happens now regardless, it will become more obvious, which is something of a double-edged sword.

This strikes me as the kind of thing that will be far more useful to promotional pages, rather than personal accounts. Trying to measure how well a promotional post is doing by how many likes it has is a dangerous trap to fall into and any tweaks to the system which will help a post gain exposure because more people are looking at it, rather than directly engaging, is very valuable.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Facebook to Monitor News Feed Timing Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, June 15, 2015 Rating: 5

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