Surely, this will be the policy change that fixes things.
On April 10, Facebook unveiled an updated plan to reduce “problematic content” on the platform, detailing in an almost 2,000-word blog post its latest and greatest techniques for keeping your social-media life free from misinformation. And while many of the changes will happen behind the scenes, the alterations to how News Feed ranks content should be felt immediately by users.
That’s right, Facebook is once again tweaking its News Feed algorithm. The goal, according to the company, is to “ensure people see less low-quality content in their News Feed.” To accomplish this, Facebook will use a so-called Click-Gap signal in an attempt to determine which sites and links are more likely to be of a Facebook-determined low quality.
“This new signal, Click-Gap, relies on the web graph, a conceptual ‘map’ of the internet in which domains with a lot of inbound and outbound links are at the center of the graph and domains with fewer inbound and outbound links are at the edges,” reads the blog post. “Click-Gap looks for domains with a disproportionate number of outbound Facebook clicks compared to their place in the web graph.”
And just what, exactly, does this mean?
“This can be a sign that the domain is succeeding on News Feed in a way that doesn’t reflect the authority they’ve built outside it and is producing low-quality content,” Facebook tells us.
In other words, a site that is doing well on Facebook — but not receiving a lot of attention via the larger web — might be ranked lower in the News Feed. Interestingly, that Facebook considers content doing well on Facebook but not doing well elsewhere a possible sign that it’s trash says a lot about the type of links that Facebook seems structurally designed to encourage and promote.
Essentially, if something goes viral on Facebook, it’s a possible sign that it’s trash — because that’s exactly the kind of content Facebook was designed to spread. Which, well, we didn’t need a 2,000-word blog post to tell us that.