Photo: Courtesy of Facebook.
Facebook seems to think that you prefer "quality content," a widely used but little understood descriptor in the land of online media. In a statement Tuesday, the company announced that it would begin to engineer your News Feed so that you see such content more often than not, by weeding out the viral detritus of online culture.
"Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme," writes Facebook. "Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently."
Does that mean you should wave goodbye to Insanity Wolf and Not Sure If Fry? Not entirely — but it does look troubling for image-hosting sites that rely on Facebook for traffic. BuzzFeed's Charlie Warzel points out, "It’s unclear if this measure is at all subjective or if it’s based strictly on data; it’s also unclear if particular publishers will be ranked ahead of others as a rule."
Some of those publishers, however, will also get related links posted below their stories, as Facebook demonstrated with The Atlantic. Facebook is also updating its "bumping" feature, so that some stories with new comments will reappear at the top of your News Feed instead of losing your attention below the jump. "Our testing has shown that doing this in moderation for just a small number of stories can lead to more conversations between people and their friends on all types of content," writes Facebook, though it doesn't say how exactly those stories will be chosen. (BuzzFeed)