Facebook swings at Twitter with Breaking News label

Facebook swings at Twitter with Breaking News label

Facebook isn’t ready to make any changes to how the algo handles real-time information, but it’s giving publishers a red “Breaking” label they can add to try to draw reader attention to News Feed posts meant to be seen now. Publishers can add the tag to one post per day plus another five per month, and set it to appear for fifteen minutes to six hours. Users can report misuse of the tag with the drop-down arrow, and Facebook says it will expand the test to more publishers if it goes well. But just the visual cue has led to boosts in engagement, including a 4 percent lift in clickthrough rate, 7 percent lift in Likes, 4 percent lift in Comments, and 11 percent lift in Shares. If Facebook figures out a way to properly surface breaking news while it’s happening, it could become more of a destination when big things happen the way Twitter is. “We’ve been pleased to collaborate with Facebook to elevate breaking news on their platform and are excited – but not surprised – to see readers respond the way they have” said The Washington Post’s lead product manager Dave Merrell after testing the tag. Its rivalry with Twitter heated up in 2011 when Facebook launched its own asymmetrical “follow” feature, since renamed “subscribe”. In 2013, Facebook tested a “Chronological By Actor” News Feed tweak that would make sure rapid-fire posts by a certain friend would show up in reverse chronological order. But Facebook never got too serious about figuring out real-time news, seeing Twitter as a largely vanquished foe. If Facebook wants to keep users loyal, it can’t just show the best content.

Snap shares skyrocket on first earnings beat with revived user growth
Reach a New Global Audience with Recent Update to Shopify Instagram Integration
Australia wants Five Eyes to squeeze tech firms on encryption

Facebook’s algorithm is terrible at surfacing breaking news, often showing urgent posts hours or even days later when more facts have since emerged or the story has changed. This has made Twitter the default home for this content, but that position has weakened since Twitter implemented its own relevancy algorithm that brings up old tweets. Facebook isn’t ready to make any changes to how the algo handles real-time information, but it’s giving publishers a red “Breaking” label they can add to try to draw reader attention to News Feed posts meant to be seen now.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Now Facebook is expanding its Breaking news tag test that started in November to 50 additional publishers in North America, Latin America, Europe and Australia. Publishers can add the tag to one post per day plus another five per month, and set it to appear for fifteen minutes to six hours. Users can report misuse of the tag with the drop-down arrow, and Facebook says it will expand the test to more publishers if it goes well.

The tag has no direct impact on a post’s News Feed ranking. It would make sense to show it more frequently while the tag is live and then less afterwards, and Facebook says it’s considering some ranking consequence. But just the visual cue has led to boosts…

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This