Understanding Facebook’s social media experiment

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The social experiments that Facebook conducted on about 600,000 of its users has been met with backlash, discussions about the ethics of it and even its confusion. Further, Facebook recently manipulated timelines as a psychological experiment to see if it could manipulate people’s emotions – making them happy or sad – depending on what was displayed in the news feed. The point of the experiment, according to The Wall Street Journal, was to see whether being subjected to either happy news or sad news from friends would make Facebook users more likely to write happy posts or sad posts of their own. What Facebook found, according to the WSJ, if that if Facebook users saw nothing but happy posts they were more likely to write something happy and vice versa for sad posts. The algorithm as to how Facebook ranks the posts is constantly evolving, but for now, here are some tips, according to the Wall Street Journal, on the most important factors (of more than 100,000 factors) on what matters to help your Facebook stories rank higher and how to get them seen in the news feed:

  • Who, What and When.
  • Overall Popularity and Settings: How those with whom you interact plays a role. If a user with which you are connected chooses, “I don’t want to see this” or “Unfollow,” your post is less likely to be seen. Also, the popularity of a post, which is measured by the number of comments, shares and likes it receives – plays into the algorithm. Posts that are flagged as offensive or are purposely hidden from a user’s timeline – are also less likely to be seen.
  • Time: Time apparently equals relevance. The more recent posts have more relevance and are part of the equation. However, older posts still have some “shelf life.” If any older posts are receiving a lot of interaction or is part of a trending story, it can be moved backed up in your news feed.
  • Good news/congratulations: If a posts gets several comments with the word “congratulations” in it, it is likely to receive better visibility because Facebook senses that an important achievement is being shared. This is the type of content it likes to promote.

At AOE, we are constantly following the changes and staying on top of social media. Let us know how we are able to help you with your social media content.    

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