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Facebook feed update will give prominence to trending and popular content

The latest timeline changes will prioritise relevant content

Facebook is to give prominence to trending and popular posts by placing them higher in its information feed in a bid to make the displayed content more relevant to users.

Erich Owens, software engineer and David Vickrey, engineering manager at the social network, said in a blog on Thursday that the group is working on bringing time-sensitive posts to users faster and more effectively.

Additionally, posts will drop down the feed as their relevance expires, in what will be a more dynamic data process for the social network.

On the new features, the duo said: “For example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show. There are also times when a post that is a day or two old may not be relevant to you anymore.

“Our latest update to news feed ranking looks at two new factors to determine if a story is more important in the moment than other types of updates.”

Facebook has now trended in trending topics, meaning that social media’s most important conversations will rise up the newsfeed, encouraging further debate from users.

A further update also takes into account how popular a post is, the more people liking and commenting on it will make it appear higher in the timeline.

The post concluded: “We will be rolling out these changes gradually and do not expect posts to see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update. If a page posts about a trending topic or if a post sees a high velocity of engagement early on that then drops off, that post may begin to see increased distribution early on and less distribution over time.”

The firm added that early testing of these priority updates have provided an average six per cent increase in user engagement - with more people sharing, liking and commenting on stories.

The updates will be gradually integrated with the service from today (18 September).

Last month the social media giant introduced measures to clampdown on clickbait links which receive many views but few likes.

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