Last Friday, Facebook announced on its newsroom blog that as part of refining its news feed content, it will take into account the time a user spends on viewing and reading a story, and not just liking, sharing or commenting on it. The action comes through data collected from users, who shared their feedback with Facebook, stating that not liking or commenting on any content does not necessarily mean it is not preferred by the user.
Often, users read about serious incidents or calamities, which they do not want to like or comment on. That, however, does not mean that the user does not want to see the content. Facebook has taken these findings and other user experience-based data to take steps to make news feed content more relevant and personalised. Time-based rating of a story’s importance, however, will not just be based on how long a user spends on the story. For example, one user may spend a long time on a story because he enjoys it, while for another user, it may simply be a case of slow internet connectivity.
Facebook will therefore be taking relative times spent on stories and refine the content accordingly. This will help users see more relevant content, and connect more to their interests. Facebook has stated, however, that no drastic change in content distribution is expected, as these changes will be slowly rolled out to users over the coming weeks.