Showing You More Personally Informative Stories

Jie Xu, Akos Lada and Vibhi Kant

By Jie Xu, Research Scientist, Akos Lada, Data Scientist, and Vibhi Kant, Product Manager, News Feed

People turn to Facebook to learn what’s going on with their friends and family and in the world around them — from learning more about a new hobby or recipe to reading about a current event. Our goal with News Feed is to show people the stories most relevant to them, so we rank stories so what’s most important to each person shows up highest in their News Feeds. When we rank and make improvements to News Feed, we rely on a set of core values. These values — which we’ve been using for years — guide our thinking and help us keep the central experience of News Feed intact as it evolves.

One of our News Feed values is that the stories in your feed should be informative. What makes someone feel informed about the world is personal. Something that one person finds informative may be different from what another person finds informative. This could be a news article on a current event, a story about your favorite celebrity, a piece of local news, a review of an upcoming movie, a recipe or anything that informs you.

To better understand how we can show people the most informative stories to them, we talk to people and ask them how we can improve what they see when they check Facebook. This is our Feed Quality Program, which includes global crowd-sourced surveys of tens of thousands of people per day, as well as people who answer more detailed questions about what they like seeing in their feeds. We ask people through this Feed Quality Program to rate their experience. For stories that people rate highly, we then ask them why they enjoyed seeing those particular stories. One of the most common reasons people give us is that the story made them feel informed about the world around them.

Today, we’re making an update — adding another of many signals we take into account when ranking feed — to do a better job of showing people stories that they find informative.

More Stories That Inform You

With this update, we are creating a new ranking signal to predict what is most informative to you, so those stories appear higher in your feed. First, we look at the stories that people tell us they find informative. People from our Feed Quality Program look at each story in their feed and rank it on a scale of one to five — one being “really not informative” and five being “really informative.” Generally, we’ve found people find stories informative if they are related to their interests, if they engage people in broader discussions and if they contain news about the world around them. That could be anything from recipes, to local issues, to global current events. The stories people rate as informative and really informative help create a new prediction about how informative we think you’ll find each story.

We then combine this signal with how relevant the story might be to you personally — taking into account things like your relationship with the person or publisher that posted, or what you choose to click on, comment on or share — to best predict stories that you might personally find informative. Informative stories are therefore different for each person and will likely change over time.

Will This Impact My Pages?

We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed. Some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic, and some Pages might see minor decreases. Pages should continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences and that their audiences might find informative.

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