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New Updates on Facebook 2020

  • Swetha Y
  • Jul 6, 2020
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A guide for News Publishers by Facebook (2020) - How organic news content on Facebook works for people and new publishers

 

A. Facebook announces News Feed Algorithm update to put more emphasis on original and quality news content

Facebook has announced a new News Feed algorithm update for news content, which will put more emphasis on original reporting, and boost content from news websites that provide information on their journalists, increasing transparency.

The change comes as more people are turning to Facebook for news content - according to Pew Research, around 68% of Americans now get at least some news content from social platforms, with Facebook the leading source. And with many local news outlets being forced to close due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reliance on Facebook for news, especially local updates are only going to rise.

That makes this News Feed change particularly timely.

B. The second element of the update looks at 'Transparent Authorship'.

"We are also starting to demote news content that does not have transparent information about the publisher’s editorial staff. We will review news articles for bylines or a staff page on the publisher’s a website that lists the first and last names of reporters or other editorial staff. We’ve found that publishers who do not include this information often lack credibility to readers and produce content with clickbait or ad farms (a click farm is a form of click fraud, where a large group of low-paid workers are hired to click on paid advertising ), all content people tell us they don’t want to see on Facebook."

Seems pretty straight-forward - if you're publishing posts and not including the author's name, you may need to re-think that approach, especially if you're posting news content.

As Facebook notes, many re-posting websites will often swipe content from other, more reputable sources, and cut the authors' names to avoid detection, while spam sites also look to churn out basic content in order to boost their links. As such, this measure seems to make sense.

In further notes, Facebook says that sites which do not have these elements could see reduced reach:

Bylines(a line in a newspaper naming the writer of an article), including first and last name or sufficient additional information about reporters

A masthead or an “about us” page that lists editorial staff

As with original reporting, the impacts are difficult to predict, as it's also based on what individual users share. But if you want to maximize your Page post reach, it may be worth re-assessing your staff listings to ensure you're providing transparency.

It's interesting to consider how both elements will play into Facebook's new dedicated News tab, which is in the process of being rolled out. The News tab highlights publishers as chosen by Facebook - so this would also look to amplify the reach of reputable, original reporting, in addition to these algorithm-defined measures.

The combined tools could help Facebook refine its focus on the higher-quality report, and thus, improve the flow of credible information through its network.

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