How does Facebook’s News Feed work? For a decade it has been an often confusing mystery, but as part of a larger bid for transparency, Facebook finally has some answers for us.
The News Feed has been a part of Facebook since 2006, but as the social network grew, the volume of content became overwhelming. So Facebook uses algorithms to curate the content.
“Our success is built on getting people the stories that matter to them most,” says Adam Mosseri, VP, Product Management, News Feed. “If you could look through thousands of stories every day and choose the 10 that were most important to you, which would they be? The answer should be your News Feed.”
Facebook, continues Mosseri, was built on the idea of connecting people with their friends and family. “Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook,” he writes.
But it has to do more than that. It must also inform and entertain, he says.
“We’re always working to better understand what is interesting and informative to you personally, so those stories appear higher up in your feed,” Mosseri explains. “And we work hard to try to understand and predict what posts on Facebook you find entertaining to make sure you don’t miss out on those.”
He also says Facebook is as inclusive as possible, not favoring one idea or viewpoint over another.
“We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about,” Mosseri writes. “We don’t favor specific kinds of sources — or ideas.”
And, of course, users do have some control over how their News Feed look. Features such as “unfollow,” “hide” and “see first” help design a further customized experience. Over time, the News Feed quietly becomes smarter about your preferences.