December 3, 2013
More, And Perhaps Less, Coming To Your Facebook News Feed
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
In a bid to make the News Feed more relevant, Facebook is making changes to put both more and less in the stream, based on preferences. Facebook will soon change the "Hide All" button to "Unfollow" and has already made tweaks to bring news that is more interesting to the top of feeds.
Facebook's plan to replace "Hide All" with an "Unfollow" button was first reported by TechCrunch on Dec 2. The "Unfollow" button is most likely a change in appearance only, as it will have the same functions as the "Hide All" button. "Hide All is a way to remain Facebook friends with someone while hiding their updates from your News Feed - say if they usually post content that you find annoying or boring, but you don't want to offend them by completely severing your Facebook Connection," TechCrunch's Anthony Ha wrote.
"The goal of this change is to help people curate their News Feed and see more of the content that they care about," a Facebook spokesperson was quoted by TechCrunch as saying.
The "Hide All" button will be replaced with an "Unfollow" button in the next few weeks on the web, according to a Mashable report. The change will roll out to mobile platforms such as iOS and Android in the next few months.
A second change, one that is happening already, is how stories will resurface within the News Feed, stated Varun Kacholia, engineering manager at Facebook, and software engineer Minwen Ji in a Facebook Newsroom update.
News Feeds will feature more relevant items from friends as well as from news organizations. "Today's update to News Feed rankings recognizes that people want to see more relevant news and what their friends have to say about it," the post said.
The move pays attention to what attributes make for high quality content. When a user interacts with an item in the News Feed, such as posting a comment, that item will surface to the top when new comments or interactions are added.
"People may start seeing a few more stories returning to their feed with new comments highlighted. 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," the post said.
News stories that get posted will have new behavior as well. When a user clicks on a news story that appears in the feed, three more stories will appear to give more information to the user.
"To compliment people's interest in articles, we recently began looking at ways to show people additional articles similar to the ones they had just read. Soon, after you click on a link to an article, you may see up to three related articles directly below the News Feed post to help you discover more content you may find interesting."
Facebook is building on changes it made in October that helped provide more visibility for posts linking to news stories.