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Facebook updates news feed to show more 'meaningful' content

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By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

February 2, 2016 | 2 min read

Facebook has tweaked its news feed algorithm in order to better tailor content for users. The update will help reduce the prominence of clickbait stories and "rebalance" posts within the stream.

The move follows research carried out on the platform by a 'Feed Quality Panel' which asked over a thousand people to rate their news feed experience each day to help determine how well Facebook was ranking the content they viewed.

Typically, news feed stories are curated based on likes, comments and shares, but following feedback Facebook has now decided to focus on "signals" from users rather than engagement.

In a statement posted on its newsroom, two of the platform's software engineers Cheng Zhang and Si Chen said: "We saw through our research that people reported having a better News Feed experience when the stories they see at the top are stories they are both likely to rate highly if asked and likely to engage with.

We are making an update to News Feed that combines these two signals. News Feed will begin to look at both the probability that you would want to see the story at the top of your feed and the probability that you will like, comment on, click or share a story. We will rank stories higher in feed which we think people might take action on, and which people might want to see near the top of their News Feed," they added.

Facebook warned that the update may see some Facebook Page owners and publishers experience a decrease in traffic if they've been engineering clicks for content that users don't deem relevant.

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