Facebook to Demote Slow-Loading Stories on News Feed
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Facebook is saying sayonara to slow-loading sites.
The social network on Wednesday announced plans to update its News Feed ranking algorithm to "show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load." Facebook Engineers Jiayi Wen and Shengbo Guo said this change should allow people to "spend more time reading the stories they find relevant."
Facebook has for years "taken many factors into account" when ranking the stories it displays in people's News Feeds, including the type of device a person is using and the speed of their connection, they write. The platform will, for instance, show you fewer videos and more status updates and links if you're on a slower internet connection that won't load videos well.
Now, Facebook will begin taking into account factors like "the estimated load time of a webpage" linked in News Feed, as well as the speed of the page overall.
"If signals indicate the webpage will load quickly, the link to that webpage might appear higher in your feed," Wen and Guo wrote. Links to snail-like sites, meanwhile, will be demoted.
The update is slated to roll out "gradually over the coming months." Most Facebook Pages should not see any significant changes in their distribution as a result of the update, Wen and Guo write Slow-loading websites, however, "could see a decrease in referral traffic" from Facebook." The duo put together a list of best practices to help publishers speed up their sites and make them more mobile friendly.
In 2015, Facebook rolled out Instant Articles, which saw the social network partner with publishers to serve up fast-loading versions of their stories on Facebook, but reaction has been mixed. Around the same time, Google introduced its Accelerated Mobile Pages project to help publishers build more lightweight pages and improve webpage load times on mobile devices.