How Facebook’s News Feed Works


By Phoebe Bullen

Facebook recently hosted its annual F8 developer conference and announced a range of new tools and updates. There was one session that looked at a crucial element of the Facebook infrastructure, which is particularly relevant for all brands and users – the News Feed.

The session entitled “News Feed: Getting Your Content to the Right People” went through exactly how Facebook’s infamous News Feed works, providing helpful insights to customers to better understand the driving force that decides what users see on the platform.

Below are the key points from the session:

The Mission of the News Feed

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s VP of Product for News Feed, began the session by outlining the core motivation behind the News Feed – connecting people with the stories that matter most to them.

How the News Feed Works

When a publisher first posts content to the News Feed, nothing happens immediately. “It’s not until the people that follow that brand open up Facebook, that we look at the story and all the other stories that we could show them and then try to figure out what they’re most interested in.” Mosseri goes onto explain that the system at a technical level is very user-centric, it’s built around each user’s individual preferences and actions, not dictated by content itself.

The most important input into what you see in your news feed is who you decided to friend and what publishers you decide to follow. “When you first sign up to Facebook, your News Feed is totally empty – it’s a blank slate. And then slowly over time, you friend the people you care about, you follow the publishers you are interested in, and you build your own, personalised experience.”

Facebook’s job is to figure out which posts matter to you most. They look at each story individually, one at a time, predicting the likelihood of you ‘liking’ each post. There are several factors to consider, including who posted it, the type of content, the amount of interactions with the post (of relevance to you) and when it was posted.

Newsfeed reach

Source: Facebook Newsroom

Once Facebook have completely this assessment, each story is assigned a ‘relevancy score’, which is specific to each user and based on their predicted levels of interest in each post. Each individual story is assigned a score and the presentation of your News Feed is defined by those results.


Source: Facebook Newsroom

How Publishes Can Maximise Their Reach

Mosseri highlights four key measures for publishers to maximise attention and traction within the News Feed:

  1. Write compelling headlines
  2. Avoid overly promotional content
  3. Experiment and try things
  4. Using publisher tools to analyse the data to understand what your audience want to see

Mosseri’s insights are highly valuable for any publisher looking to get the most out of Facebook’s News Feed.

The full video can be viewed here.

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