Facebook's quest to be a personalized newspaper for the Internet age continued on Tuesday with tweaks aimed at making sure members spy hot stories from their friends.
Changes to the leading social network's formula for figuring out which posts will be of interest included "bumping" up potentially intriguing stories that went unnoticed during prior visits to Facebook.
"It is hard for users to get back to old things; you have to scroll through things you have already seen," Facebook news feed team engineering Lars Backstrom said while discussing the latest changes.
"We wanted to make it so people weren't missing important stories that didn't make top slots but were just below the fold."
Signals weighed in the machine learning algorithm were modified to bump-up a story considered more interesting than fresher material that formerly got priority simply for being newer.
"We tweaked the model," Backstrom said, noting that about 30,000 signals are balanced in the algorithm.
"Instead of just taking the new stories, we would take all stories that were new to you, that you haven't seen, even if it isn't the freshest."
A test of the change showed that the number of stories people read in news feeds rose to 70 percent from 57 percent with "bumping," according to Facebook.
"Story Bumping is going to be a really nice tool for people if they are sitting with a Facebook account and have run out of things to look at," said Facebook vice president of product Chris Cox. "It will bump up new stuff."