Using Surveys to Make News Feed More Personal

By Ramya Sethuraman, Product Manager, Jordi Vallmitjana, Product Manager, and Jon Levin, Technical Program Manager

Update on July 2, 2020 at 9:00AM PT:

Reducing Bad Experiences by Responding to People’s Feedback

Just like we use surveys to show people more content they want to see, we’re now using surveys and other signals to reduce the likelihood that people see content they don’t want to see. We survey people about various types of content and look at actions people take on Facebook, such as hiding or reporting posts, to predict which pieces of content they’re unlikely to want to see. 

What may be OK to one person could be seen by others as inappropriate. This update means that people should start to see less content they may find inappropriate or that isn’t to their taste across both News Feed and Facebook Stories. Of course, content that violates our Community Standards is never allowed on Facebook — and this doesn’t change that. Understanding feedback allows us to make adjustments that better connect people to what matters most to them on Facebook.

Update on August 5, 2019 at 4:15PM PT:

Better Connecting You With the Posts You Care About

In May, we began using surveys to show people links that are worth their time. We will now extend that to photos and videos as well.

Update on May 31, 2019 at 10AM PT:

Better Connecting You With the Pages and Groups You Care About

We know that friends are not the only reason people come to Facebook. Many people come to see the latest from the Pages they follow and the groups they are a part of. In addition to surveying people asking them which friends they were closest to, we started two additional surveys asking people 1) how interested they are in content from a specific Page they follow, and 2) how important a specific group they’ve joined is to them.

Using these survey results, we have updated our algorithm to prioritize the Pages and groups we predict an individual may care about most. Some of the indicators of how meaningful a Page or group is might include how long someone has followed a Page or been a part of a group; how often someone engages with a Page or group; and how often a Page or group posts.

Similar to the close friends update we announced earlier this month, these specific changes will not result in an increase of Page or group content. Rather, they will prioritize content from the Pages and groups we think you care about most so that you see them higher in News Feed.

Originally Published on May 16, 2019:

The goal of News Feed is to connect people with the posts they find most relevant. As we’ve said in the past, it’s not about the amount of time someone spends on Facebook, but rather the quality of time spent. That means making sure people see what they want to see – whether that’s posts from family and friends or news articles and videos from Pages they follow.

To do this, we try to understand what people are already doing on Facebook — what they like, comment on and share. We also use surveys to get more context about the posts people want to see and who they want to see them from. Today, we are announcing two ranking updates based on surveys we’ve conducted: one prioritizes the friends someone might want to hear from most and the other prioritizes the links a person might consider most worthwhile.

Better Connecting You With the People You Care About

We’ve historically predicted who people might want to hear from based on signals like how often they interact with a given friend, how many mutual friends they have and whether they mark someone as a close friend.

Now, in addition to understanding these signals, we’ve begun surveying people on Facebook to ask them to list the friends they are closest to. We look at the patterns that emerge from the results, some of which include being tagged in the same photos, continuously reacting and commenting on the same posts and checking-in at the same places — and then use these patterns to inform our algorithm. This direct feedback helps us better predict which friends people may want to hear from most.

This doesn’t mean News Feed will be limited to posts from only certain people and it doesn’t mean you will necessarily see more friend content. Rather, you will likely see posts from those you have close relationships with higher up in your News Feed.

We also know that whomever you want to hear from right now may not be who you want to hear from in a year, or even a few months. Our prediction models are continuously updated based on the interactions people have with their friends on Facebook. We will also continue to survey people to make sure we understand how new actions and interests map to the friends you want to hear from most.

Better Connecting You With the Posts You Care About

Last month we explained that as a part of our continued effort to show people relevant posts, we were surveying people to ask what posts they thought were worth their time. Based on these surveys, we are updating News Feed to show people links we predict they will find worthwhile.

Similar to the above update, we use these responses to identify signs that someone might find a link worth their time. We then combine these factors with information we have about the post, including the type of post, who it’s from and the engagement it’s received, to more accurately predict whether people are likely to find a link valuable.

How Will This Impact My Page?

These changes aren’t meant to show more or less from Pages or friends. Rather, the Page links that are surfaced to people will be ones they find worth their time — and the friend posts will be from friends people want to hear from most.

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