Decoding the Facebook Algorithm

A Fully Up-to-Date List of the Algorithm Factors and Changes

Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

If you do Facebook marketing, one thing that you might want to understand is the Facebook algorithm.

The Facebook algorithm helps make sense of the huge number of posts that people and businesses share every day and chooses the posts to show in our News Feed based on a huge number of factors.

We want to help you understand how your Facebook posts get viewed on Facebook. So we’re collecting all the relevant Facebook algorithm factors, updates, and changes and placing them here in this post for easy reference.

Read on, and see what goes into the complex, fascinating formulas of the Facebook News Feed.

Facebook algorithm values

Understanding the Facebook algorithm starts with knowing the core values that Facebook uses to guide their thinking and work. These values can give you a hint of what content will do well or not so well on Facebook.

Here’s a brief summary of Facebook’s News Feed values:

  • Friends and family come first: The main objective of the News Feed is to connect people with their friends and family. So posts from friends and family are prioritized. After those posts, Facebook found that people want their feed to inform and entertain them.
  • A platform for all ideas: Facebook welcomes all ideas while making sure that everyone feels and is safe. They aim to deliver stories that each individual wants to see the most, based on their actions and feedback.
  • Authentic communications: Facebook prioritizes genuine stories over misleading, sensational, and spammy ones.
  • You control your experience: Individuals know themselves best. So Facebook creates features (such as unfollow and see first) to let people customize their Facebook experience.
  • Constant iteration: Facebook strives to constantly collect feedback and improve the platform.

The overview of the Facebook algorithm

So how does Facebook decide what to show in a News Feed?

Here’s a quick overview of how the Facebook News Feed works, according to Adam Mosseri, VP of Product Management for News Feed:

To make it easy for you to understand the Facebook algorithm, we went through all the (known) changes that Facebook has implemented to its algorithm and came up with a list of factors that we think may determine whether your post shows up or not.

Do this: The Facebook algorithm loves …

  • Posts with lots of Likes, comments, and shares
  • Posts that receive a high volume of Likes, comments, or shares in a short time
  • Posts that are Liked, commented on, or shared by one’s friends
  • Link posts
  • Post types that one interacts with often
  • Post types that users seem to prefer more than others (e.g., photo, video, or status update)
  • Videos uploaded to Facebook that receive a large number of views or extended viewing duration
  • Posts that are timely or reference a trending topic
  • Posts from Pages that one interacts with often
  • Posts from Pages with complete profile information
  • Posts from Pages where the fan base overlaps with the fan base of other known high-quality pages

Watch out for: The Facebook algorithm is not too keen on …

  • Clickbait
  • Like-baiting
  • Posts that include spammy links
  • Frequently circulated content and repeated posts
  • Text-only status updates from Pages
  • Posts that are frequently hidden or reported (a sign of low quality)
  • Posts that ask for Likes, comments, or shares
  • Posts with unusual engagement patterns (a like-baiting signal)
  • Overly promotional content from Pages — pushing people to buy an app or service, pushing people to enter a contest or sweepstakes, posts that reuse the same text from ads

To help you grow your Facebook Page reach, we’ve written a few guides that you might like:

If you want to dig into the Facebook News Feed algorithm, read on to find out all the relevant changes Facebook has made.

All relevant changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm

(Last updated: October 2017)

Here’s a summary of all the changes that are relevant to social media marketers, in reverse-chronological order.

If you want to know more about any particular change, just click on the quick link and you’ll get more information about the change and how it may affect your Page.

Could you help us make this resource more complete?

We’d love your help in tracking any changes and factors to the Facebook News Feed so that this post can be as complete as possible.

Is there anything that we’ve missed?

Is there any news that came out recently that we should add?

Let us know by leaving a comment on this post or drop us a tweet. We’ll be happy to pass along a hat tip in the post for any and all good leads.

We hope this resource comes in handy for you as you navigate your Facebook marketing strategy. Let us know how things go, and if there’s anything we can do to improve the way we help.

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This blog post was first written by Kevan Lee and subsequently updated by Alfred Lua on the Buffer Social blog on January 18, 2017.