Facebook posts video to shed light on its news feed algorithm and provides insight into how content is ranked / digital news world


Facebook recently posted a video, in which his insider looks at the algorithm that redirects content to users and how he selects that content to display.

The video, posted to the Facebook for Business blog, is part of a new video series, titled “Let me explain”. With a combination of animation and live action footage, the videos guide users through topics that require a more personal explanation from Facebook’s own team. The first video, for example, deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and how the social network is pulling together efforts to tackle misinformation online about vaccines and other relevant topics. Due to the hidden nature of the content being discussed, Facebook and its developers need to personally step in to explain everything. When your community, to add another example, actively asks you what you are doing to combat disinformation online, it is not enough to state the facts. Sometimes you need a video that delves deep into the actions taken and what their rationale was.

Plus, it looks like Facebook is learning a lesson or two about how to clarify its intentions regarding certain actions. As large as the platform is, the social network has been a lightning rod for controversy over the past few years. Between congressional hearings, a nasty feud with Snapchat, arguments with Apple trying on user privacy and the recent WhatsApp policy fiasco, it looks like Facebook has finished being shy about its motives and wants to be more honest. to go forward. Even from that perspective, however, this current video on their News Feed might take some work.

Certainly, explaining the News Feed feature and how the content is organized for users is an important step. It satisfies a curiosity that many people have had about what makes their Facebook wall unique. There are also many points in the video, which we will cover below, that lead to selecting certain types of content over others. This is interesting information and can be exploited by the content creators on the platform. Ultimately, however, the video completely sidesteps some of the biggest questions and concerns for users. Questions about the personal data used to generate newsfeed content, how advertisements are organized and what kind of information is transmitted to these third-party applications remain completely unanswered. Too bad. Seems like honesty is a lesson Facebook isn’t particularly keen to learn.

Anyway, let’s talk about the content of the video. Facebook relies on a specially designed algorithm to rank and place content on a user’s News Feed. In order to discern which content is objectively “better”, the algorithm relies on four key steps. Namely, inventory, signals, predictions and scores. Inventory is all the messages that you could potentially come across, such as those from friends, pages, groups, and advertisements. Signals are the algorithm that observes what content you interact with and don’t engage with, and how you choose to do so. Facebook basically tries to predict what content you’ll like the most, based on inventory and signals. Finally, each piece of organized content is assigned a score, which allows the top-rated (and theoretically most relevant) content to appear first on your personal news feed. Facebook even states that you can personally have more content than you see by selecting certain pages and groups to rank as your “Favorites.” The top 30 favorite content will then be displayed more on your screen.

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