Have you noticed an increase in the number of videos that you’re seeing in your Facebook News Feed lately? Well there’s an explanation for that based on your own behaviour and those pesky ol’ Facebook algorithms that seem to polarise audiences.
You should be aware of Facebook’s auto-play function, introduced last year, that starts playing videos (admittedly silently) regardless of whether or not you’ve clicked on them. The algorithm detects when you pause your scrolling to watch them, and will then deliver even more videos. This was confirmed in June by Facebook’s Product Manager, Brett Welch:
People who tend to watch more videos in their News Feed should expect to see more videos near the top of their Feed. Conversely, people who tend to skip over videos without watching them should expect to see fewer videos.
However, these subtle tweaks to the News Feed algorithm that determine the frequency and type of content that is served up in your News Feed can be subject to abuse and exploitation.
Mashable’s Annie Colbert describes the situation as a “sneaky viral video spam problem“. Her article looks at the example of a handful of pages with nothing in common sharing the same irrelevant viral video content (without the appropriate rights to license the footage, incidentally), purely to get their pages into more and more people’s News Feeds by virtue of the fact that the video itself has proven to be popular elsewhere.
So what can we do to avoid seeing ‘spam’ videos appearing in our News Feeds? Well, short of not watching any videos in an attempt to adjust Facebook’s algorithmic measure of us, it seems as though we’ll just have to be patient while Facebook works on ironing out these creases.