Facebook is making 3 big changes

Facebook says it’s making three big changes to its NewsFeed algorithm that could mean past social traffic glory days may soon be over.

“We want to let you know about a change that may affect referral traffic for publishers,” Facebook product manager Max  Eulenstein and user experience researcher Lauren Scissors wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline.”

Here are the three big changes, as outlined by Scissors and Eulenstein:

  1. Facebook users will now be able to see more than one NewsFeed post from the same source in a row. Facebook’s algorithm previously prevented that. Facebook says it’s “relaxing this rule” so that users who don’t see much content in their feeds can start seeing more.
  2. Facebook will start prioritizing NewsFeed content posted by friends. “The second update tries to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it,” Facebook writes. It says you’ll still see content from news organizations and Facebook pages you enjoy though.
  3. Facebook will begin hiding posts that say what your friends have liked or commented on. This sounds like it could really diminish a publisher’s second-hand reach. “This update will make these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all,” Facebook says.

The first algorithm change may actually be good for publishers as people will now be able to see more than one of their articles in a row. The last two points are more worrisome. Basically, if people enjoy content written by friends more than publishers, they’ll start seeing friends’ posts more and publishers’ posts less. The third point could hurt publishers’ reach and virality by removing or limiting all second-hand interactions with their content from the NewsFeed.

Other publisher changes may also be coming to Facebook shortly.

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