Facebook is tweaking News Feed to prioritise authentic and timely posts

Facebook is burying misleading, spammy or sensational posts from the News Feed, and prioritising posts that are more timely.

Facebook has announced changes to the way News Feed displays stories. One of the changes addresses the problem of fake news, Facebook is now using machine learning to train computers to recognise authentic posts. The other change is to give higher priority to current discussions or hot topics, and show posts that are more timely. For most pages, there will not be a significant change in the distribution of posts on News Feed.

Currently, Facebook uses personal signals such as the proximity of the user to the page or person posting, and universal signals such as the overall engagement of the post including comments, reactions and shares.

Facebook is now introducing new universal signals when it comes to prioritising posts on the News Feed. Pages that try to game the News Feed and often posts spam are now categorised as such. If a post asks for likes, comments and shares, or hides the posts from the timeline, Facebook identifies these pages for posting less authentic content.

The posts from these identified pages are used to train computer models, that can use the content to understand which posts are less authentic. The change is an effort to reduce the number of misleading, spammy or sensational posts that appear in the News Feed. Authentic posts show up higher in the News Feed, whereas the spam is buried. The feature is expected to get better with time because of the involvement of artificial intelligence in the process.

The real-time signals for understanding which of the relevance of a post has been improved. Facebook will now look at bursts of activity around a post or a topic, to determine if that post is timely, and will then deliver the content on priority.

For example, if a football team wins a match, posts related to the event can be expected to show up higher in the News Feed soon after the event. Facebook understands in real time if that topic or post is relevant to individual users.

Facebook has said some pages may see a small increase in outbound clicks and referral traffic, while other pages may see a slight decrease. Facebook recently introduced additional tools to combat the problem of fake news. Users now have the option of reporting spam or fake news articles directly from the posts themselves. Facebook has also announced a partnership with third party fact checking organisations.

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