9 Opportunities for the new Head of News Feed @Facebook Design

May 10, 2019 · 4 min read

Your content feed is old and broken, here are a few items that could help with your new initiatives.

A FB Recruiter contacted me about a position that wasn’t the best match, but it made me curious what was were the open JD’s over at the man. I stumbled upon the post for a new Head of News Feed. The JD was well written and very clear that they are looking for innovation and leadership. The point that stood out to me follows:

Execute on the first major app-wide refresh of the Facebook visual system since its inception.

I was reminded of a post I wrote a few years back.

Your Content Feed is Broken

Our content feeds should be experienced as stream of information to be consumed over linear time.

The Opportunity Updates

This little interaction sparked whole new lanes of thought as I considered what were some topics I would try to bring to the most common new feed around the globe.

My more recent work has been heavily involved with Machine Learning, AI, and Topic Modeling. These are the seeds of tech that influenced a majority of my thoughts.


Currently there are simple clustering tools that exist is today’s feed. But the opportunity here is immense. Look at clustering with ML to group similar links and posts around all topics. Not just birthday wishes, but news, politics, undefined events, like a social event in a community that occurred organically.

Topic modeling

The headers is more general than it probably should be that the underlying concept here is that you can use Topic Modeling to empower the feed from user posts. Highlight, tag, group, sort, or whatever based on the derived topics from human language.

Machine discovers that Karen has a high anger sentiment with the manager to TJ Max again. — #publicfreakout #innappropriateinpublic #socialinteraction #frustratedcustomer #karenisajerk

These examples are lame, but you get the idea that the machine can label and inform based on topic discussed rather than user labeled.


The news feed is loosing ground to millennials, chat platforms, and other things. One way to make it relevant is to own what you are, a central hub of shared information.

Flip the paradigm that user can cross post to FB, and instead turn and have FB go fetch that content based on user behavior.


As alluded to in Topic Modeling, use sentiment analysis to alert users the sentiment of a post. Allow users to then set thresholds of sentiment restrictions.

“I freaking hate [politician, cause, race, group, thought, band]. I wish they would eat a sock and get lice.”

Users should be allowed to then select that this level of angry sentiment is not appropriate for their feeds.

*Side note: this could also be used extensively in the content compliance teams to help check for inappropriate use on the platform. If combined with Topic Modeling it could completely pivot the large teams or reviewers.

Language filters

This is a gif from the game.

A little bit about I designed a word game. I am a family man and thought about how simple it would be to add language filters for bad words.

Simply replace the bad words with redacted, or convoluted text characters.

Refresh loop

My original article hits this point on the head. Just read that.

Your Content Feed is Broken

Balance suggestions

With Topic Modeling and a little Machine Learning you can create a balance feature to show or suggest other posts, links, stories that are the counter point to a users preferences.

User follows AntiVax propaganda, Feed could suggest a “balance post” to highlight the counter view of ProVax.

User follows Urban migration to city centers, Feed could suggest a “balance post” to highlight the counter point of life fulfillment of living in a tiny home.

The concept is to prevent view points that would otherwise he hidden from the users preferences.

Walled garden prevention

The above feature would directly combat the Wall Garden users create with only following points with which they believe.

“I live in NYC and don’t know a single person who would ever vote for Trump!”

With balance suggestions there is a hope that regardless of your views, they can be expanded.

Enterprise and community tools

If you have children is school, sport, activities; or you are part of any community there are needs to have a single source of information.

Expand the tools available to these groups that would post and inform.

Possible news feed posts: A shared school calendar, a real-time volunteer signup, neighborhood petition, a company calendar of mtgs.

We must navigate many sources currently or rely on different systems to push to our feed. How helpful would it be if the feed was a proactive member of our lives and collected information we cared about with out need to fetch it manually.

Putting a bow on it

The root of many of these ideas is to make the feed more relevant. The News Feed has a unique position in the market to really be the center of user lives. If it can connect and inform more than just be a sharing platform of posts.

Evolve out of the web 2.0 user generated place and into a more connected, thoughtful, machine supported space that can be the rising tide to raise all ships regardless of their perspectives, views or experience.


Written by


Director of Product Design & Creative Consultant

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