As many of you have experienced, Facebook’s News Feed is a very mysterious creature. Sometimes your post will show up in the feed and other times it will sit in a barren wasteland of posts in limbo. Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to manage all of the content coming through their platform and decide what is important to other users. As advanced as that algorithm is, it definitely has its flaws.
Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a first-hand experience with this issue when the top story appearing in his feed was a co-worker’s birthday. Normally this would not be an issue; however, it was at the same time that his niece had been born.
According to a recent Wired article written by Steven Levy, when Zuckerberg saw that his niece’s birth post was getting out-ranked by his co-workers birthday post, he called for a tweak to the infamous algorithm.
This tweak that Zuckerberg commissioned was that if the word “congratulations” is in the comments of a post, it would get a boost! If you think about it, “congratulations” is the number one thing people say in response to huge news/events such as an engagement, a new born baby, a graduation, or even a new job or achievement. This is exactly the type of content Facebook wants to surface and create engagement upon.
“We’re testing a lot of things every day to figure out what’s going to make the most engaging feed,” Zuckerberg told Levy in the Wired article. “We use quantitative metrics that measure likes and comments and clicks and shares and other activities to see if a story is good, but we also have qualitative systems so that people can reorder a feed to tell us what they thought were the most important things.”
So there you have it – the one magical word to rule them all (or at least on Facebook that is). Next time you see a friend post some big news, tell them congratulations and give them an extra boost! Hopefully they will return the favor someday.
– Alex Boutté