Facebook has released a new set of guidelines for publishers on how the social network ranks content.
On Monday, Facebook’s head of the News Feed, Adam Mosseri, said during an announcement at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism that the new guidelines were created to allow publishers understand “what works and what doesn’t on our platform.”
That said, the new guidelines don’t appear to show any significant changes in their rules. Instead, it highlights the advice Facebook has given to publishers in the past. Such as not publishing “clickbait,” or links to “low-quality” pages. The company also said their algorithm uses “signals” to predict the likelihood a user would want to read the story.
The publisher guidelines do point out the type of content it does not allow such as links to “gratuitous” violence or hate speech.
This news comes after Facebook was reportedly testing a significant change that would significantly alter the way publishers post content on the social network. A decision so drastic, the Guardian calls it “catastrophic for publishers relying on the social network for their audience.”
Facebook is testing the system in six countries including Slovakia, Serbia, and Sri Lanka changes the news feed so that almost all non-promoted posts are not seen where Facebook features entirely original content from friends and advertisements. The change has reportedly negatively affected a users’ engagement with Facebook pages, with some outlets reporting a drop of 60% to 80%. The Guardian argues that if this new change is implemented, “such a change would destroy many smaller publishers.”
That said, Mosseri also addressed a reported “pay to play” test Facebook was trying in six countries, which separated News Feed content from publishers into a secondary feed, limiting the reach. “I think we could have communicated it better,” Mosseri said, but added there are no plans to expand the test and the company would not “launch that as-is.”