Consequently, the social media outlet has recently changed its algorithm to facilitate greater reading and watching content time by users.
“We’re learning that the time people choose to spend reading or watching content they clicked on from News Feed is an important signal that the story was interesting to them,” said software engineer Moshe Blank and research scientist Jie Xu in a post on the company’s website.
The company noted it is adding another factor to News Feed ranking to enable it to predict how long users spend looking at an article in the Facebook mobile browser or an Instant Article after they have clicked through from News Feed.
“This update to ranking will take into account how likely you are to click on an article and then spend time reading it. We will not be counting loading time towards this — we will be taking into account time spent reading and watching once the content has fully loaded. We will also be looking at the time spent within a threshold so as not to accidentally treat longer articles preferentially,” Blank and Xu noted.
The change is the latest example of Facebook tweaking the News Feed in ways that it hopes will encourage users to spend more time on the site.
Last summer, it put a similar change in place when it came to posts on the site, promoting the posts which were read for more time even if no links were clicked.
And in 2014, it changed the algorithm to penalise “clickbait” – links which users opened then immediately closed. “We learned that this often happened when the article someone clicked on wasn’t what they had expected from the post or the headline,” Blank and Xu wrote.
Edited by Jesus Chan
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