Facebook has revealed more details about the kinds of posts that get hidden by its news feed.
The algorithm that powers the news feed – deciding which posts show at the top of the site when you open it – has remained largely mysterious ever since it was introduced. Facebook has suggested that is necessary in part because revealing what makes a post show to more people could allow people to trick the news feed.
But now the company has revealed more detail about the opposite: what characteristics mean that a post will be pushed down in the feed, meaning that it is unlikely to be seen.
It shows what happens to posts that do not violate its “Community Guidelines”, and so avoid being banned entirely, but are still deemed to be low quality and therefore will be hidden within the feed.
The categories of posts that will trigger those demotions are detailed in a new document, known as Content Distribution Guidelines. They include posts that have spam, that have false information, and which put people at personal risk – the full list is published in full on Facebook’s website.
The page still leaves much unexplained about the news feed. It does not say how much certain categories are demoted within the news feed, whether certain categories of problematic or low-quality posts are pushed down more than others, and gives only limited information about how it decides whether a certain post should be covered by the guidelines.
Facebook said that the guidelines are already being used, but that it will continue to change the guidelines with time. “We’ll continue to update the Content Distribution Guidelines to provide people with information about how we define and treat problematic or low-quality content that doesn’t otherwise violate our Community Standards,” it said.