Facebook news feed: Understanding how and why certain updates appear

EdgeRank is the engine that powers the Facebook news feed, which informs so much of what we do online. Here’s an attempt to understand that engine.

Facebook’s EdgeRank is far from easy for the layperson to understand, yet it informs so much of what we see on the social media site.

EdgeRank is the engine that powers the personalized news feeds on Facebook.

Luckily, The Next Web is here to break it down for us.

If you understand this formula that TNW obtained, there’s really no reason to read on:

If you’re a normal human who showers regularly and takes out his or her trash, you probably need a bit more of an explanation. Here we go.

An edge is essentially a piece of content that shows up in other people’s feeds.

EdgeRank is composed of the primary components of affinity, weight, and time.

• Affinity is determined by how often you check in with a certain friend or brand. This is a one-way street, though. You can’t directly influence someone’s affinity for your brand. You can, however, give them reasons to come back to your page.

• Weight pertains to how much importance a particular object is given. Photos and videos seem to be given the most weight, followed by links and status updates. “Likes” hold low weight. However, the most valuable factor in an object’s EdgeRank, according to TNW, is comments.

• Finally, timeliness factors in. Facebook’s EdgeRank will favor fresh content. This factor ensures that all content you see is current.

For more insight into Facebook’s EdgeRank, the Daily Beast conducted a one-month experiment to try and get to the bottom of it all. It did a pretty good job, yielding the following conclusions:

• A bias against newcomers
• “Most Recent” doesn’t tell the whole story.
• Links are favored over status updates, and photos and videos trump links.
• “Stalking” your friends won’t get you noticed.
• Raise your visibility by getting people to comment.
• It’s hard to get the attention of “popular kids.”

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