Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Facebook tunes news feed rankings

07 August 2013, 07:18

Menlo Park - Facebook's quest to be a personalised newspaper for the internet age continued on Tuesday with tweaks aimed at making sure members spy hot stories from their friends.

Changes to the leading social network's formula for figuring out which posts will be of interest included "bumping" up potentially intriguing stories that went unnoticed during prior visits to Facebook.

"It is hard for users to get back to old things; you have to scroll through things you have already seen," Facebook news feed team engineering Lars Backstrom said while discussing the latest changes.

"We wanted to make it so people weren't missing important stories that didn't make top slots but were just below the fold."

Signals weighed in the machine learning algorithm were modified to bump-up a story considered more interesting than fresher material that formerly got priority simply for being newer.


"We tweaked the model," Backstrom said, noting that about 30 000 signals are balanced in the algorithm.

"Instead of just taking the new stories, we would take all stories that were new to you, that you haven't seen, even if it isn't the freshest."

A test of the change showed that the number of stories people read in news feeds rose to 70% from 57% with "bumping", according to Facebook.

"Story Bumping is going to be a really nice tool for people if they... are sitting with a Facebook account and have run out of things to look at," said Facebook vice president of product Chris Cox. "It will bump up new stuff."

News feeds were also modified to take into account the "last actor" a member interacted with and then give that friend's posts temporary priority since they seem to be up to something interesting.

"We wanted to capture your current state of mind as you were using Facebook," Backstrom said.

"A lot of signals are long term, such as the relationship with each friend; we wanted a real time factor."

Facebook's ranking software assigns numerical scores to the roughly 1 500 stories typically eligible for delivery to a member's news feed and displays the top 300.


Powerful factors for ranking are relationships, along with how often a member comments, shares, "likes", or otherwise acts on posts of friends. Hiding posts sinks content from that person in news feed rankings.

"Our goal is to create the best personalised newspaper for each of our readers," Backstrom said.

Facebook engineers are experimenting with ways for News Feeds to better handle chronological posts, such as a friend firing off play-by-play updates from a sporting event.

Backstrom's team meets on each Tuesday to brainstorm ways to improve the Facebook news feed, with worthwhile ideas tested internally among workers or with a tiny fraction of the social network's more than one billion members.

"It starts with intuition and then that gets written into code as a feature," said Cox. "Then we look at interactions."

Ads displayed as promoted posts in news feeds are handled separately from content generated by people's friends or family members at Facebook, according to the ranking team.

"We figure out the most relevant news feed with the organic content, and then, as a newspaper or television programme might do, we create advertising slots," said Facebook product manager Will Cathcart.

Backstrom compared the job of ranking news feed posts to the challenge faced by internet search engines Google or Bing when it comes to quickly determining optimal results for queries.

"Facebook is one of the only places where you have a problem on the same scale as what Google or Bing is doing but you have to use different techniques because of the personal aspects of it," Backstrom said.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...