Chronotope

Chronotope by AramZS
Chronotope by AramZS
This is a platform for User Generated Content. G/O Media assumes no liability for content posted by Kinja users to this platform.

Peeking into Facebook's algorithmic black box.

This article is cross-posted from my personal blog, where the code looks cooler.

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If you came to this post from my Facebook you've been participating in a little not-so-scientific experiment on my behalf.

For most of the month of January almost all of my Facebook shares have passed through a new site I set up with WordPress and PressForward. On Chronoto.pe I archive a copy of everything I've read and those archives are what I've been sharing to my Facebook page.

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Why?

Because how Facebook decides what gets presented to you on a daily basis is sort of a mystery. Some posts are more likely to show up than others, some posts will come back to the top of your stream hours, days or even weeks after they were originally shared. Like almost everything that decides what's important to you on the internet (Google, the most notable of the group) Facebook considers the algorithm it uses to present content a competitive advantage and keeps the specifics of it a secret. We know something about it because of what we see, others have found and Facebook itself provides.

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Some Facebook stats are available, but almost entirely they are focused on pages. What about humans? What decisions does Facebook make about what we share?

What did I find?

Today I'm sharing the some of the data I found from my first two weeks of the experiment. This is a pretty short time, so I'm take my conclusions and hypotheses for follow-up with a grain of salt. I don't have a huge Facebook following, but I think mine is larger than normal, so that might change things to when it comes to how Facebook treats me as an individual.

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Over the first two weeks of my experiment, I saw 1,758 clicks on the links I shared, with Google Analytics marking 1,304 Users across that time.

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Looking at that data, I got some ideas.

Facebook's most important measure is probably click-throughs. Achieve more than 25% of the previous day, and people will see your post tomorrow.

With a significant amount of consistency, the count of people who clicked on articles was the most important measure for determining the continuing popularity of a post. Almost every post was clicked the day it was posted and the day after. If the number of clicks exceeded 25% of the previous day, it usually got clicks the day after. If they didn't, it didn't get any clicks the following day. I'm assuming Facebook is pretty good at getting people to click on things, so I'm betting Facebook doesn't present, or rarely presents, content falling below that threshold.

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Read the full post on my blog!

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