The social network’s latest tweaks to its news feed algorithm focus on surfacing more current content. The change means consumers will see more posts that relate to trending topics on Facebook.

Facebook Inc. says its latest tweaks to the algorithm that determines what users see in their news feeds focus on freshening up the news feed’s content.

The change means consumers will see more posts that relate to trending topics on the social network. For example, it will be more likely to highlight a brand’s post if it relates to the latest trending topic, such as “Derek Jeter’s retirement.” In testing the change on a “small percentage of posts,” Facebook found the change led to a more than 6% increase in the number of users who Like, comment or share those posts.

The social network has also begun examining when users Like, comment on or share a post, rather than simply the total number of Likes that a post received when determining how high up to show it in the news feed. That means that if a brand’s post got a flood of Likes within minutes but little engagement several hours later, the algorithm will determine the post may not be relevant any longer.

“We’ve heard feedback that there are some instances where a post from a friend or a page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show,” write Erich Owens, a Facebook software engineer, and David Vickrey, engineering manager, in a blog post.

Facebook says it is slowly rolling out the changes and marketers shouldn’t expect to see “significant changes” in their posts’ distribution as a result of the update. However, it does note that if a brand posts about a trending topic or if a post generates a lot of engagement early on that then drops off, that post may begin to see increased distribution initially and less distribution over time.


The tweaks come a little more than a week after Facebook said it had rolled out news feed updates that aimed to make the ads a user sees in his news feed more relevant. The social network now factors the reasons why people give for hiding an ad into its news feed algorithm. When it identifies a trend, it will present the ad to fewer people. It also began weighing feedback differently based on how often a consumer hides ads or other news feed content.