What Is Facebook News Feed? - dummies

By Carolyn Abram

News Feed is the centerpiece of your Home page. When you log in to Facebook, you see the familiar blue bar on top and the left sidebar, but mostly you see News Feed.

So what is News Feed? It’s a constantly updating list of stories by and about your friends. Stories here refers to actions that your friends have taken on Facebook — things like writing a status update, sharing a photo or link, or becoming friends. You may also see stories from Pages that you follow. Facebook sometimes refers to stories as posts.

Back in the day, a common refrain around the Facebook office was, “News Feed is a robot.” More accurately, News Feed is an algorithm. It doesn’t show you everything from your friends; instead, it tries to show you things it thinks you will find interesting.

News Feed makes its selections based on a complicated calculus of who is posting what and when. News Feed will likely show you more stories from people you interact with more often on Facebook. It also has a tendency to show you “big events” like engagements or new babies even from more distant acquaintances.

News Feed also learns the sorts of stories you are likely to click on, like, or comment on, and will try to show you more of those. Simply browsing News Feed and interacting with the things you see helps News Feed to improve. There are ways for you to manually fine-tune News Feed as well.

Because News Feed tries to show you what it thinks you’ll find most interesting, stories might not always appear from newest to oldest. There is some bias toward new stories (especially if you log into Facebook frequently), but you might see a popular photo that a friend posted several days ago appear at the top of your News Feed instead of one from this morning if it got a lot of likes or comments. Additional likes or comments can also cause a post to reappear in your News Feed even if you’ve already seen it.