In recent years, Facebook has taken the time to develop algorithms to regulate what content your fans see when you post on the network. Every so often, the company will release updates to continue to improve the Facebook algorithm, and it may be difficult to keep up with these changes. There are great opportunities on Facebook for businesses to grow their brand and exposure. But it is important to stay current on how social media evolves and to change your strategy accordingly. Luckily, breaking down the history of Facebook’s algorithm will allow you to see how and why social media has evolved.
2006 – The Beginning
On September 26, 2006 Facebook officially opened to everyone aged 13 years or older with a valid email address. With its launch, we saw the features we are familiar today such as news feed and status updates. Before the shift to news feed, opening Facebook would only bring you to your profile which you could edit. But in order to see others’ pages, you had to manually search for those profiles. The news feed feature redesigned the home page and made it into a more familiar version of Facebook we all know today.
2007- We “Like” Things!
The ‘like button’ was Facebook’s first real experiment with algorithm changes. This new feature gave users a simpler method of communicating and interacting with each other. Along with the ‘like’ feature, Facebook allowed users to ‘X’ content they did not want to see, thus beginning a long relationship with algorithm changes.
2009- We Don’t Like Things!
Along with the need to reciprocate interactions with other users, Facebook realized its users wanted more control over what they saw. At this time, the Facebook algorithm debuted a new type of default sorting order. Opposed to chronologically posting everything your people’s feeds, content would now appear based on popularity.
2013- A Second Chance
This Facebook algorithm change allowed posts not seen by users a second chance at being viewed. Another important update gave more weight to each user’s most 50 interactions on the network in determining what they see in their feed.
2014- Clickbait Control
Fortunately, most of the reasons why Facebook changes its algorithm so often is because it listens to its users. In 2014 another Facebook algorithm was released aimed at defeating “click-bait” posts. “Click baiting” involves posts that feature a headline made to get the user to click on the link. A common headline found on “click baiting” links may sound like “You won’t believe what happens next!” Facebook now analyzes how much time a user spends on a link they click. If the user quickly returns to Facebook after clicking a link, this tells Facebook that the link was not what the user wanted, which is frequently the case with “click bait” links. Removing these links simplified the news feed and enhanced users experiences.
2015- Search and Shareable Links
In 2015, Facebook’s algorithm change was geared to promoting user’s friends’ posts over Pages or promotional posts. Users could see more posts from close friends in their News Feed than posts made from the Pages they follow. At this time, Facebook also implemented a function that allowed users to quickly and easily share links in their posts and status updates.
2017- Facebook Stories
In an effort to duplicate the success of Snapchat’s feature, Facebook’s latest algorithm brought out Stories to the main Facebook app. With this ‘second news feed’ within the app, circular icons with user’s profile pictures appear at the top of the news feed. These icons represent “stories” that friends have published containing images, videos, drawings, and special camera effects. With Facebook stories, users can become more visual in how they choose to share their activities and personality with their friends.
2017- Most Recent Facebook Algorithm Changes
Facebook has announced it will begin to hide links to low-quality sites that come from posts or Facebook ads. A low-quality site to Facebook is one that contains little substantive content or is considered disruptive to user’s experience. This update stems from user complaints that the content in their News Feed often points them to spammy or misleading sites.
With a degree in Marketing Communications from Florida Atlantic University, Jessie is truly a creative thinker. She has a passion for customer service and a background in account-based marketing. Her goal is ensuring the utmost level of professionalism, creativity and support throughout your digital marketing experience.