Changes To Facebook’s EdgeRank Draw The Ire Of Many

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Facebook is once again having to mend fences between themselves and the businesses that use the social networking site as an advertising tool.

Some companies, including NBA franchise Dallas Mavericks, have recently complained that their posts are being seen by fewer and fewer users. Facebook recently retooled the algorithm used to send out these posts to the users, a move which the company says drastically affected the way users engaged with these companies, reports Donna Tam of CNET.

In a press conference held on Friday, Facebook explained the algorithm used to determine who sees what in their timeline.

Called EdgeRank, Facebook´s algorithm is said to keep unwanted and irrelevant contact from a user´s feed. Will Cathcart, a product manager for the social giant, explained that if a user ever says they don´t want to see updates from a particular company, EdgeRank works to make sure they don´t.

In addition to explaining what doesn´t show up on a user´s news feed, Cathcart also explained what stories do appear in the feed. In order to make it to a user´s news feed, a post has to meet a few requirements, write Brandon Bailey for Silicon Beat.

For instance, if a user has interacted with content from the source in the past, the post is more likely to appear in the news feed. If a user has commented or liked a post from a company before, then EdgeRank will push future posts through. If a user has ignored posts in the past, however, it´s less likely further posts will show up in their feed.

Likewise, if a user has interacted with a similar post in the past, then these new posts are more likely to make an appearance in the feed.

EdgeRank also looks at interaction on a larger scale, so if thousands of Facebook users are interacting with a post – commenting on it, sharing it, etc – then it´s more likely to make it in more users´ feed.

When Facebook reworked EdgeRank in September, they also began to factor in some elements which may cause some users to view these posts as spam. As such, EdgeRank has been working to keep this potentially-Spammy material out of users´ news feeds.

Naturally, if a business or organization wants to pay for the privilege of a promoted post, then more users will have this post in their feed. The idea of a promoted post is relatively new and has been heavily pushed by Facebook in the months after their lackluster IPO as a way for the company to bring in extra dollars. Companies large and small can set up free pages for their business and have their posts and stories show up organically in users´ news feeds without paying anything extra.

However, with promoted posts, businesses can pay to have these posts appear front and center in more users´ feeds, ensuring more people can see and interact with the post. However, the number of people reached by these posts depends on how many fans the company has on the network, a number which closely corresponds with how large a company or organization has become.

Matt Idema, a product marketing director for ads at Facebook said the company created promoted posts as a way to give all businesses, large and small, an equal opportunity to when it comes to reaching their fans.

“We received significant adoption among small businesses. Several hundred thousand have used it,” said Idema, speaking with Forbes.

Yet, for all the success Facebook says they´re having with promoted posts, it´s never good to have large, high-profile organizations, such as the Dallas Mavericks, decide to take their advertising dollars elsewhere.

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