A look at Facebook's changes over the years in what you see


Facebook is once again tweaking what you see to focus more on personal connections and take the spotlight off brands and news articles.

Facebook says it will highlight posts you are most likely to engage with and make time spent on social media more "meaningful." That means cutting back on items that Facebook users tend to passively consume, including video.

To try to keep you glued to Facebook, it regularly updates the formula that decides what posts you see. With the latest update, the company says it's focusing on what Facebook is for — connecting with people you know.

Here's a look at some of the ways the company has changed the posts appearing in users' customized news feeds, which launched in 2006, as well as some of the factors it uses in deciding what makes up those feeds.

___

MAKING FACEBOOK "MEANINGFUL"

Last June, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would tweak its formulas to try to boost membership in "meaningful" groups. Whenever someone spends at least 30 minutes a week in a group, Facebook classifies it as "meaningful." The company estimates that 130 million of its users are in such groups. It wants to increase that to more than a billion by 2022.

___

DOWN WITH CLICKBAIT?

Facebook tweaked its news feed in 2014 to clamp down on "clickbait," posts with grabby headlines like "you won't believe what happened next" yet ultimately disappoint.

More clicks mean the posts would move higher in people's news feeds, even if people don't really want to see them. How does Facebook decide what's clickbait? For one, it knows how much time you spend reading an article. A quick click generally means you're not really interested in the post that was shared.

Facebook's push worked. You're much less likely to see clickbait these days.

___

YOUR PERSONAL "NEWSPAPER"

In 2013, Zuckerberg said he wanted the news feed to look more like a digital newspaper, filled with information tailored to each user. The company gave you more ways to decide what you want or don't want to see.

Later, the company expanded these tools to let you choose the friends and brands whose posts you want to see first. That means a news hound can choose to highlight news articles, for instance. You can also unfollow a specific friend's posts, while still staying connected on Facebook; you can decide to follow that person again later.

___

ADS ARE SEPARATE

The changes won't affect how often you see advertisements, or as Facebook calls them, "sponsored posts."

However, you can tell Facebook not to show a particular ad again, and Facebook will stop showing you that and will show something else instead. Over time, Facebook will tailor the ads it shows you based on such feedback.

___

DATA RULES

It's in Facebook's best interest to show its more than 1 billion daily users stuff that will keep them interested — and keep them coming back. To that end, the company says it surveys tens of thousands of users each day to get a more complete picture of what people want to see.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Spectrum reports TV streaming app service issues
Spectrum reports TV streaming app service issues

Spectrum customers are reporting service interruptions while attempting to use the Spectrum TV app, the company said on Friday afternoon. “Spectrum customers are experiencing a service interruption while attempting to use the Spectrum TV App. This is causing errors including incorrect login information. Technicians are working diligently to restore...
Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate
Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate

The monthly membership fee for Amazon Prime rose Friday from $10.99 to $12.99. Company officials said the annual membership will remain at $99 dollars. Monthly customers do not get access to Amazon Video, which costs $8.99 a month. The last Prime subscription hike came in 2014, when Amazon increased its yearly membership from $79 to $99. The e-commerce...
Starbucks testing out stores that do not accept cash
Starbucks testing out stores that do not accept cash

Starbucks is testing out a cashless checkout in stores nationwide. As of Tuesday, one downtown Seattle store accepts only cards or mobile payments, according to a report from KIRO-7. The coffee chain is receiving mixed reviews from customers, some who like the convenience while others worry about privacy issues. Robert Safian, editor of Fast Company...
Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)
Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)

Too much clutter, too little money, too many gifts you didn't like... an eBay auction is one of the simplest solutions to all three issues. If your trash might be someone else's treasure, an eBay business is simple to start and accessible to just about anyone. "It has low start-up costs and it can be started out of your home," noted the ...
Moldy comforter among latest product recalls
Moldy comforter among latest product recalls

The latest product recalls include a potentially moldy comforter, an unstable bassinette, and snow globes that could potentially cause a fire, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.    The Hudson comforters by UGG under recall were sold at Bed Bath & Beyond and may contain mold which could pose a risk of infection or respiratory...
More Stories