Date
17 January 2017
Andrew Bosworth said Facebook wants users to get the content they are interested in, even if none of their friends are talking about it. Photo: EJ Insight
Andrew Bosworth said Facebook wants users to get the content they are interested in, even if none of their friends are talking about it. Photo: EJ Insight

Facebook aims to improve relevance, richness of newsfeed content

Facebook aims to enhance the personalization of its newsfeed content by improving its relevance and richness, a senior official of the world’s largest social network said.

“The mission of Facebook’s newsfeed is to be the most meaningful source of information of the world around our users. It is just 1 percent finished. Great potential is there,” Andrew Bosworth, vice president for ads and pages at Facebook, said in a media briefing in Hong Kong.

To improve the newsfeed content’s relevance, “we have people who rate manually about how they feel about stories and how they feel about that the newsfeed is trying to add even subjective signals into our system,” he said.

“And maybe we can do a better job of having the computer to learn to understand the content of a posted message. If the content is about a sport team and you don’t like sport, even a lot of your friends are talking about it, you just don’t care. That’s a broader category of learning that we can unlock.”

Bosworth said with such improvements, people can get the content they are interested in even if none of their friends are talking about it.

To enhance content richness, newsfeed should provide readers with the full depth of its content. “If you care about a story, can we show you all the different parts of that story? Or can we make it more expressive and immersive?” he said.

Finetuning the algorithm of newsfeed is a never-ending process for Facebook.

“As humans, we are never completed. We are evolving and learning while our tastes are changing. I couldn’t tell you what I want to see on newsfeed because I haven’t seen it all yet,” Bosworth said.

The company has employed machine learning technology at a very sophisticated level to improve user experience on newsfeed.

“Although the way that the decisions are made by the system is not necessarily human-intelligible, all these signals that we are gathering make sense,” he said. 

“It’s so personalized to each individual in the product that your newsfeed experience is so different from mine while mine is so different from my sister’s.”

Besides, Facebook also applied some tools to reduce “pushy” and “mean” content on newsfeed while encouraging video-sharing.

About a year ago, when people were sharing a lot of “mean” content on Facebook, a lot of other users didn’t feel that such content is meaningful to them, Bosworth said.

“Video has become very popular over the past one year. It has been an explosive growth,” he said.

In January, Facebook announced that it has achieved 100 million hours of daily video watch over its platform.

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JP/CG

Chief reporter at EJ Insight

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