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Facebook has been making a lot of changes recently, first, they announced that they were changing the way they ranked videos and now they’re announcing something else. Specifically, Facebook is changing the way they rank content submitted in their News Feed.
Simply put, they’re changing things up by updating and layering new signals to its currently existing ranking algorithm.
Facebook’s Crusade Against Fake News
In recent times, specifically during and right after the recently concluded elections for the United States Presidency, Facebook started a campaign to cull illegitimate news sources from their social network.
The fight against fake news isn’t entirely new either as Google has been doing the same thing for a while now. Google recently updated their algorithm to fight fake news as well as interstitials and it goes to show that many other big names (such as Facebook) are joining the fight against fake news.
This is important to users like you and me because a majority, if not all of us, get our news from a quick mobile search. If Google can not determine between legitimate and fake news, and they fail to penalize these fake news sources then the average person would have walked away from that Google search even more ignorant than when they started.
The movement against Fake News officially started, in my opinion, when Google started pushing SEO Specialists and Web Masters towards Mobile Browsing Optimization. So it makes sense that Facebook is following the same road because a lot of these fake sources are disseminated through their social network which leads to more people believing in the wrong things. By extension, legitimate sources of news suffer lower rankings because the more sensationalized (albeit fake) news invite more clicks and shares.
You can think of Fake News as the Black Hat SEO of the world of journalism because they doesn’t rely on the truth and these people would do anything for a quick money – and that’s something that I personally condemn.
Moving forward, it seems that Facebook found a decent solution for this by upgrading or adding new signals to their News Feed algorithm. Basically speaking, Facebook is placing more importance on what they refer to as “Authentic Posts” which will start appearing on a higher priority on your newsfeed as opposed to unverified posts.
Facebook is actually doing this seemingly complex process with a very simple method. They look for posts that are considered authentic and then they rate those higher; posts that perform less are ranked lower.
This may sound counterproductive as we mentioned that fake news tend to be shared more but there’s more to it than that. Facebook is starting the process by similarly segregating pages between authentic and unverified. Pages that are reported as spam are expected to perform poorly compared to verified pages.
Facebook is using an updated algorithm to build a model to determine whether a certain post can be considered authentic or not. In other words, pages that post things that beg for likes, comments, and shares will be ranked lower while pages that post content that is actually of an acceptable quality will be ranked higher.
Certain examples of such posts are now being collected by Facebook in order to build that can accurately tell the difference between them. Facebook said that one good way for them to determine a post’s quality is by looking at how many people hide the post from their timeline as well as how many people report the post as spam.
Giving Rewards Where They Are Due
As mentioned earlier, Facebook is going to start rewarding content that is naturally shared, discussed and liked by people will rank higher in Facebook’s algorithm which also means that these types of content will appear higher on your News Feed.
One good example can be seen in sports. Recently, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer competed in the finals of the recently concluded Australian Open. If you were diligently (or even casually) glancing at your News Feed during that period of time, you would have probably noticed that posts that talked about the match appeared more often than posts that talk about something else.
These boosts are temporary and Facebook is referring to these types of posts as “Timey Posts” which basically means “popular content/news that is currently being discussed.”
Of course, the way Facebook grades and monitors these things may change but for now, this is how things are going to be.
If you have a social media team posting on your business page on your behalf, I recommend reading my previous post on Social Media Etiquette in order for you to stay ahead of these changes.
Do you have any questions or reactions to these changes? Let me know in the comments section below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.