If a new Facebook tool works as planned, users will soon see more relevant content in their news feed from people and pages they don’t follow.
Speaking on how the site’s news algorithm works, Facebook News Vice President Adam Mosseri said, “We want to a better job helping people learn about stuff that they might not even know exists yet, but they would love or find interesting or meaningful in their lives.”
Facebook has actually been trying to implement this feature for some time, testing topic based news feeds for some users with a tab that linked to more listings of similar content, just from sources not followed.
But this time, the site is looking to bring these other sources directly into a user’s feed, without them having to click elsewhere. Some users now are being shown a “Topics to Follow” box in their feed. That box gives a list of topics to choose from, with the option to follow that topic (if a topic is chosen, stories in that area will be added to the news feed). Once it’s clicked, a list of all sources Facebook uses to bring that content is displayed, and users can delete ones they don’t want.
These new posts are still chose based on level of engagement, per Facebook’s standard algorithm, but the point is to bring new content to a space that users are already familiar with. Ideally, to “broaden perspectives” the site says.
Adding new ways for people to find content helps more people see content overall, so it’s a good move on Facebook’s end. And it’s good for publishers too, as there are additional chances for exposure in topic listings. Of course, actual impact is still driven by how good the content is.
As Facebook delves more into the marketing potential of their tools, expect to see the site bring more experiments like this in the future.