Facebook is not only a social network now, its a homepage for the web. You only have to look at the staggering 1.28 billion site visits a month to realize what its worth to a huge percentage of civilization itself. Now Facebook has big plans for the content it provides, not only marking satire posts for those humor impaired, but by also ranking shares by the validity of the content shared.
Once the dumping ground for “you won’t believe what happened next” and “like and share to see what happens”, Facebook is making attempts to increase the quality of what you find shared from your friends. Once again Facebook is tweaking its complex algorithm that decides what you see, to rid the news feed of so called ‘click-bait’.
Click-bait describes links that attract a user to click, but offer little to no substance on the page. Often to bump page views and increase ad revenue. They will decide the validity of the link by using the prodigal value of internet worth; the ‘time spent on page’ value. The content validity and worth is then judged on the length the user stays to view the page.
If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted – Facebook blog post
This isn’t about impairing content providers income, but more about increasing the level of content shared. Facebook did outline that there is increasing pressure from users to increase the quality of content. However with the creating of the Paper app Facebook outlined its grand ideas for what the page visits will be for in the future, with the hope to become users news feed as well as social feed.
They will of course be factoring in the backbone of Facebook into the algorithm. The amount of likes, comments and sharing on the links will be key to it value both in ranking value and also paying to have it shared to more users. If successful ‘income per click’ may not be the only way your ad revenue is calculated by Facebook.
While there are questions raised about the worth of company advertising through Facebook posts, the effect of Facebook on the web is undeniable. Any changes Facebook make to sharing or content delivery has major effects on digital and written content providers. Facebook has become one of the most influential platforms and can make or break the created content with over 802 million site logins per day.
According to widely used webpage and Facebook Plugin Shareahollic, Facebook drove 23% of all social traffic on June, demolishing social networks considered more ‘trendy’ such as Pinterest’s 5.7% and Twitters lowly 1%.
Is 10 users spending 1 minute on the website more valuable than 1 user spending 10 minutes on the page? That’s a matter up for debate, and would depend on the contents overall desired outcome. However as outlined by Forbes, “While the definition of “quality” changes depending on niche, industry, type, or target audience, there are many common elements that are reliable, consistent indicators of quality.”
The debate that users desire bitesized, micro content has been made since the internet age exploded. However, Facebook has clearly outlined that they rank time spent on each page as king. This will ultimately rid its of the “You won’t guess what” links, but may not increase the value of content away from the site.