Facebook Mobile App Developers Re-Prioritize your Feed

February 26, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Facebook feed

Tired of dodging clickbait traps while you scroll through your Facebook feed on the subway? So are the app developers at Facebook, who’ve been experimenting for months with new ways to prioritize the stories you see when you open the ubiquitous Facebook mobile app.

To date, it’s mostly been a process of tracking likes and shares to determine what offers users the most value. Unfortunately, that system has a tendency to vault suspicious content from content farms to the top of the polls, putting “12 ways your dog is like Justin Timberlake” above the photos of your friend’s wedding that you actually care about.

Facebook’s app developers are seemingly addressing the situation by implementing a combination of qualitative surveys to determine what users actually want to see. Samples screen-captured by mobile users generally juxtapose randomized content and ask those surveyed to rate the content, or pick which they would “prefer” to see. The data compiled from tens of thousands of surveys are already informing a new algorithm that’s significantly more adept at weeding out what’s “valuable” from what’s “addictive.”

While Facebook’s market growth has shown little sign of slowing throughout all quarters of 2015, the current vogue among users and Toronto iPhone app developers for stripped-down feeds and simplicity has raised questions as to whether Facebook needs to pivot to compete when it comes to privacy and sharing. While Facebook’s privacy and curation tools have improved rapidly over the past five years, they’ve also introduced a lot of complexity to the mobile app. Who can see what? How many friends before I can’t find the ones that matter? Taking the manual controls out of feed curation should help ease some of these user concerns.

Mobile app developers at Facebook seem to be betting that direct input from their users trumps passive data gathering in the long term. Whether or not the move will successfully clean up the clickbait remains to be seen. Mobile app users can expect to see cleaner, less cluttered Facebook feeds within the month. Get ready to breathe a sigh of relief.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,