Facebook Facts You May Not Have Known
20th January 2016
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1) People really, really didn't like it when it first came out.

It wasn't until September 2006 when Facebook introduced the News Feed and the Mini-Feed: places where all your own and your friends' latest activity on the site was collected in a single timeline.

And people hated it, as "News Feed" allows users to track their friends' Facebook movements by the minute. For many of Facebook's 8 million-plus student users, it was too much. Within 24 hours, hundreds of thousands of students nationwide organized themselves to protest the new feature. Ironically, they're using Facebook to do it.

2) The Like button didn't show up for 6 years after Facebook's launch.

The concept of "liking" something -- a post, a photo, a video -- has become so ubiquitous that it's hard to imagine social media without it. And yet, Facebook went a whole six years without it, until 2010.

3) Facebook pays people to surf Facebook for News Feed research.

With over 1 billion daily active users all over the world, Facebook has a pretty hefty sample size of people surfing their News Feeds, reacting to stuff, clicking on stuff, and so on. And while the company does a great job of requesting feedback from users right within the site, they also get their feedback by paying people to do it in a controlled environment.

4) Facebook had to change the algorithm because people were using the News Feed like email.

The folks at Facebook discovered that a small subset of Facebook users were treating the News Feed more like an email inbox. How? Folks were interpreting the "hide" button beside each post like the "delete" or "archive" button in an email inbox. In other words, once they were done reading a story, they would "hide" it.

To address the problem, the folks at Facebook published a blog post explaining that they made a small update to the News Feed so that, for that small subset of people only, they don't take "hide" into account as strongly as for others. They also added the text "See fewer posts like this" to clarify what hiding a post does.

5) Each post in your feed was given a "relevancy score" to compare it with thousands of other posts.

Many people think the News Feed algorithm is all about predicting whether users will Like a post. In reality, though, it takes into account literally hundreds of variables -- and can predict whether a given user will Like, click, comment, share, hide, or even mark a post as spam.

Once every post that could potentially show up in your feed has been assigned a relevancy score, Facebook's sorting algorithm ranks them and puts them in the order they end up appearing in your feed.

In other words, that post you see at the top of your News Feed was chosen over thousands of others as the one most likely to make you react and engage.

6) Facebook pays attention to how you watch videos on your feed.

In summer 2015, Facebook surveyed users on how they interacted with video on their News Feeds and found that that many people who were interested in a given video didn't necessarily Like it, comment on it, or share it with their friends.

To help the feedback loop, they started monitoring other forms of video engagement -- like turning on the audio, switching to full-screen mode, or enabling high definition. So if you turn up the volume on a video or make it full-screen, the News Feed algorithm will take that as you enjoying the video, and will show you similar videos higher up in your feed.

7) Facebook updated their algorithm for folks with bad internet, and now holds "2G Tuesdays".

In many parts of the world, mobile users still use a 2G connection for their internet use. But connecting with users in regions with really slow networks is a huge potential area of growth for Facebook -- so in October 2015, the company updated its algorithm to improve the News Feed experience for the millions of mobile users with slower internet connections. Now, when Facebook detects users with a really weak connection, they'll bring up previously loaded News Feed or cached stories. It'll also focus only on the stories and posts those users are actively looking at, instead of loading multiple stories simultaneously.

8) More people are turning to Facebook's News Feed to consume news.

The ways in which people are finding and reading news stories has changed radically in recent years. Today, Facebook is one of the biggest sources of stories and videos on the internet, alongside Twitter and Google.

How big? Research from the Pew Research Centre found that 63% of Facebook and Twitter users used those social media sites as news sources in 2015, up from around 50% in 2013.

9) You can search for old posts, pictures, and more using keywords.

A few years ago, the only things you could find using the search bar at the top of a Facebook page were people, pages, groups, events, and apps. Since 2014, you've been able to type in keywords to search for old News Feed posts in a feature called Graph Search.

Now, if want to check out pictures from your cousin Patrick's wedding, you can search for something like "Patrick wedding" or "Patrick wedding pictures," and Facebook will spit out results for those terms.

10) You can browse popular articles by looking at "what's trending."

One way to read the news on Facebook is by browsing the articles that are trending. On the right-hand side of your News Feed and under event invites and birthdays, you'll find a list of articles that are trending on Facebook.

The articles Facebook shows you are based on a number of different factors, including engagement, timeliness, pages you've Liked, and your location.

While you can't turn trending off, you can customize your list of trending articles by toggling by topic. To toggle by topic, click on the icon that corresponds to whichever topic you'd like to see, which are located to the right of the word "Trending" in the "Trending" section.

11) You can save stories to check out later.

Ever seen articles in your News Feed you wished you could bookmark for later?

That's why they added a feature that lets you save links to articles, events, TV shows, music, and more to revisit later.

To save a story to read later: Click  and then select Save link.


12) You can switch from seeing top posts to seeing most recent posts.

When you first log on to Facebook, your News Feed will default to showing "Top Stories": popular stories and posts from your favorite friends and pages, many of which have gained a lot of engagement. But you can also choose to have the stories on your feed sorted by recency.

To toggle between the two: Go to your Facebook homepage. In the column on the left-hand side of your home screen, you'll see "News Feed." Click  to the right of "News Feed," and choose either "Top Stories" or "Most Recent."


13) You can override the algorithm by handpicking whose updates show up first in your feed.

When Facebook learned that many users were concerned they were missing important updates from the friends they cared about most, they changed the News Feed algorithm so that updates from close friends would appear higher in the News Feed. Then, even more recently, they decided to give users the option of handpicking people and pages whose updates they want to appear first on their feeds, rather than having that decision fall back on the algorithm.

Now, when you select a person or page to "see first," their posts will appear at the top of your News Feed. Selecting people to "see first" is different than selecting them as a close friend: When you select a person as a close friend, you'll just receive notifications when they post something new.

14) You can "unfollow" people or pages so you never see their posts.

Luckily, you can unfollow people to hide their posts. FOREVER. Better yet, they won't know if you've chosen to unfollow them. There are two ways to unfollow a person, page, or group.

a) To unfollow directly from the News Feed: Click  on the top right of their story, and select "Unfollow."


b) To unfollow from your News Feed preferences: Click  in the top-right corner of any Facebook page and select "News Feed Preferences." In the window that appears, click "Unfollow people to hide their posts."


To reconnect with a person, page, or group that you unfollowed in the past: Click  in the top-right corner of any Facebook page and select "News Feed Preferences." In the window that appears, click "Reconnect with people you unfollowed" and select whomever you'd like to reconnect with.

15) You can find out why you're being targeted for different ads.

Ever wondered why you're seeing certain sponsored posts in your News Feed? Businesses can choose ad targeting options like location, age, gender, interests, and people already connected to their page, event, or app -- and for every sponsored post you see, you can actually find out why you're being targeted.

To find out why you're seeing an ad: Click  on the top right of their sponsored post, and choose "Why am I seeing this?" from the dropdown menu.

16) You can hide ads so you never see them again.

While you can't block Facebook ads entirely -- they help keep Facebook free, after all -- but you can opt out of seeing a specific ad or any ads from a single advertiser.

thanks for hubspot for the article

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