Facebook News Feed Algorithm History


October 16th, 2018

Facebook Will Remove Sites With Scraped / Republished Content

Web publishers that make money by scraping content from other sites or republishing that content with permission will now see a lot less traffic from Facebook's News Feed. This is a win for publishers who have been hammered by Facebook's updates over the past year, possibly allowing their original content to gain more visibility and removing incentives for scraper sites to steal their content.

This might also cause some alarms for content curators as it appears Facebook has built their own in-house duplicate content system and will remove offending content from the News Feed if the system feels that it is too much duplicate.

Much like Google's past problems with this vary same issue, it is unclear how Facebook will determine who the original author is and there might be cases where a small original publisher or blogger will get labeled as a scraper. Their announcement doesn't include any way to dispute this or a notification system that your site / page has been labeled as a scraper / republisher.

More info:
TechCrunch: Facebook News Feed now downranks sites with stolen content
Facebook Newsroom: Reducing Links to Low-Quality Web Page Experiences (Updated October 16th, 2018)
September 13th, 2018

Fact-Checking Expanded Globally

Facebook expanded their fact-checking system with all 27 third-party partners to 17 different countries. If an article, image, or video is found to have misinformation by these partners and Facebook's machine learning system this will hinder its ability to gain reach in the News Feed.

The fact-checking system has a variety of components. One way Facebook told us that it works is by leveraging optical character recognition to pull text from images / photos. "we use optical character recognition (OCR) to extract text from photos and compare that text to headlines from fact-checkers’ articles."

While Facebook's FAQ's on fact-checking mention a dispute option, we have yet to see evidence of this notification and dispute system for fact-checked content in the wild and there are zero mentions of a way for satire providers like The Onion to bypass this system.

More Info:
Facebook Newsroom: Expanding Fact-Checking to Photos and Videos
Facebook Newsroom: Seeing the Truth
Facebook Ads Help Center: FAQ's on Facebooks Fact-Checking
August 10th, 2018

Page Authorization Update

This update will require pages with a 'large' U.S. based audience to undergo additional verification which would confirm the country that person lives in and will require two-factor authentication. Facebook didn't define what they mean by a 'large' audience, but from the notifications we've seen essentially an active page with about 30,000 to 40,000 followers would qualify and based on recent news reports of pages with 20,000+ followers causing issues with political events we estimate Facebook could require pages with around 20,000 likes/followers to obtain the additional verification.

Facebook told us that the additional verification would need to be completed by August 28th, 2018.

This will impact the News Feed as pages that don't obtain the additional authorization will likely be unpublished or deleted, opening up coveted News Feed access to more authentic pages.

More Info / Press
Facebook Newsroom: New Authorization for Page
The Verge: A shadowy influence campaign on Facebook is targeting liberal activists
Facebook Newsroom: Removing Bad Actors on Facebook
April 3rd, 2018

Assessing Credibility Update

This is a full implementation of a test Facebook started on October 5th, 2017 to see if providing additional information aided users in assessing the credibility of a news story that appeared in the News Feed. This test was one of several in response to the outcry that Facebook's technology was fostering and helping spread Fake News around the globe.

The update will now display other pieces of information along with an article from a publisher under an icon that reads "About this article". Once clicked the icon will reveal things like:

- A snippet from the Publisher's Wikipedia page & a link to the page
- A section of related articles from other publishers on the same topic
- A map showing where the article has been shared
- A section of recent articles from the publisher
- A section that shows all friends who have shared the same article

More Information / Press
Facebook Newsroom: News Feed FYI: Helping People Better Assess The Stories They See In News Feed
March 26th, 2018

Local News Visibility Increased

Facebook increased the visibility of local news outlets in the News Feed in an apparent attempt to help fight fake news and to win pr points during the #DeleteFacebook movement and the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal. The announcement was made on March 26th, 2018 but no definitive date was set on when this update would go live.

More Info / Press
Facebook Newsroom: More Local News on Facebook, Globally Time.com: Your Facebook Feed Is About to Have Much More Local News

Updates
- This update has yet to be seen in the wild.

- No publishers have mentioned being impacted by this update yet.

- There are no timelines for this update to be fully rolled out.
March 5th, 2018

Explore Feed Test Ends

Facebook ended its 5 month long dual-feed test stating that users had said they were less satisfied. The Explore Feed test broke the News Feed into two components for selected users, a main feed and the 'explore feed'. The Explore Feed was largely comprised of content posted by fan pages (i.e. content from publishers). The stated purpose of the test was to show more content from friends and family, but with the Friends and Family update to the single version of the News Feed announced on January 11th, the Explore Feed was largely redundant.

More Information / Press
Search Engine Journal: Facebook Ends News Feed Test – How this Impacts Public Pages
January 11th, 2018

Friends and Family Update

Facebook announced that the News Feed would prioritize updates from friends and family. They stated that the update would likely mean less engagement on the platform, but Mark Zuckerberg stated that he believes the engagement would be more valuable to users. This update is likely another response to allegations that Facebook's platform played a pivotal role in the 2016 USA Elections. The update was disastrous for publishers who had grown to rely on or were fully dependent on traffic from Facebook. One such publisher "LittleThings" shut down completely while others laid off staff members citing "industry changes over the past few months". Later one report would state that this update increased the cost of Facebook Ads 122%, the highest increase in ad costs on the platform the previous 2 years.

More info / Press
Recode: Facebook is making a major change to the News Feed that will show you more content from friends and family and less from publishers
LittleThings: Goodbye from LittleThings
Forbes: Facebook's Latest Algorithm Change: Here Are The News Sites That Stand To Lose The Most
Mashable: Facebook to publishers: The News Feed algorithm isn't why you're failing [Response about LittleThings]
CNN Money: Vox Media to lay off around 50 staffers in latest round of industry cuts
Business Insider: Facebook ad prices are rising after the News Feed change
Recode: Facebook ad costs spiked higher after a big change to its News Feed algorithm
2008 - 2017

Updates from This Period Coming Soon!!

We're busy looking up changes, updates, and commentary for the Facebook News Feed over this time period. There are thousands of documents, tests, announcements, research projects, news reports, and blog posts to sort through. We'll be updating this page periodically.

Please check back for more later.
Do you have any information about the Facebook News Feed algorithm you think we should post? Use the contact us page in the menu above to send us a message and we'll review your submission, vet the information, and get it added if we believe it is a valuable addition to the Facebook News Feed Algorithm History.
March 18, 2008

Updates to Privacy Controls Adjusted What Users Allowed to be Seen in the News Feed

Facebook began allowing users to control who would be able to see specific posts they made. The default categories were public, friends of friends, and friends. The update also allowed Facebook users to share content with a specific list of friends based on "friends lists" which was launched a few months earlier in December of 2007.

This update adjusted content seen in the News Feed by users indirectly as content that may have been shown to a user would be restricted based on the settings of each post.

More Information / Press
Official Blog Post: Announcement: Facebook Updates Privacy Controls
November 6th, 2007

Facebook Launches Facebook Ads Placing Ads in the News Feed

Facebook launched Facebook Ads with 12 marquee partners. This signaled the first time ads would be seen in the News Feed. The partners that helped launch Facebook Ads included The Coca-Cola Company, Verizon, Blockbuster, CBS, Chase, Sony Pictures, Epicurious.com, flip.com, Crest Whitestrips, Dove Cream Oils, Herbal Essences, The New York Times Co., and Saturn.

More Information / Press
Official Blog Post: Facebook Ads Launches with 12 Landmark Partners
September 8th, 2006

Backlash Over News Feed Results In Changes

With mounting backlash against News Feed, users were informed that Facebook would protect their privacy and make updates to alleviate their concerns. Facebook updated News Feed and Mini Feed to allow users to control what would be visible in each feed on the 8th of September 2006.

More Information / Press
Mashable: Facebook Gets Egg on its Face, Changes News Feed Feature
September 6th, 2006

Users Protest Over News Feed

Facebook users began calling for boycotts against the social media website and make protest pages with some growing to at least 10,000 users. The complaints and calls for boycotts recieved a quick reply from Mark Zuckerberg in an open letter to the community.

More Information / Press
TechCrunch: Facebook Users Revolt, Facebook Replies
The Register: Users protest over 'creepy' Facebook update
September 5th, 2006

Facebook Launches News Feed

Facebook launched News Feed and Mini Feed (i.e. the Wall). At the time the social media website had 9.5 million users, according to TechCrunch. The update was incredibly unpopular among Facebook users and prompted an open letter from Mark Zuckerberg himself to the community. Up until this point in time users had to visit their friends pages one by one to see updates.

More Information / Press
TechCrunch: New Facebook Redesign More Than Aesthetic

The Facebook News Feed has been the core of the social media giants products for over a decade. The feature has been mired in privacy concerns since the day it launched and has gone through dozens of changes moving from a chronological order to being controlled by an algorithm that decides what content users see. The feature was introduced when the site had less than 10 million users and is largely credited with helping the site grow to over 2 billion users. We’ve tracked down every single change to the News Feed algorithm that has been published to help users, marketers, and technologists see a just how the News Feed has changed over time. Unlike the News Feed our timeline is in chronological order starting with the most recent changes and ending with the launch of the feature.