Facebook story bumping to show you what you may have missed

Suzanne Choney
Wednesday, 7 Aug 2013 | 12:40 PM ET
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Zuckerberg on Thursday unveiled a new look for the social network's News Feed
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Zuckerberg on Thursday unveiled a new look for the social network's News Feed

Facebook's News Feed can be a mishmash to deal with, as cumbersome as federal bureaucracy and not nearly as fun.

The social network wants to make it easier for users to see stories that they may have missed previously in their day by now using "story bumping" to put those stories high up in each user's News Feed.

"The goal of News Feed is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so they don't miss the stories that are important to them," Facebook's Lars Backstrom wrote, in a statement about the changes Tuesday.

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"Ideally, we want News Feed to show all the posts people want to see in the order they want to read them. This is no small technical feat: every time someone visits News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and Pages for them to see, and most people don't have enough time to see them all."

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Facebook ranks News Feed posts based on posts on a variety of factors, including posts by a friend that a user has previously liked or commented on, or whether a user has chosen to hide posts from not-such-good friends.

"When a user likes something, that tells News Feed that they want to see more of it; when they hide something, that tells News Feed to display less of that content in the future," Backstrom wrote. "This allows us to prioritize an average of 300 stories out of these 1,500 stories to show each day."

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Updating the News Feed ranking algorithm will let "organic stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see" reappear near the top of the News Feed, "if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments."

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Previously, he said, users were reading 57 percent of the stories in their News Feeds. "They did not scroll far enough to see the other 43 percent. When the unread stories were resurfaced, the fraction of stories read increased to 70 percent."

Story bumping should do "a better job of showing people the stories they want to see, even if they missed them the first time," he said.

—By Suzanne Choney of NBC News

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