What is the Facebook algorithm?

What is the Facebook algorithm?: Everything You Need to Know to Take Advantage of it

Facebook’s algorithm has its unique way of ranking posts on the News Feed. This system is not always an advantage for marketers, but it could be

All designers of social media platforms aim to extend the time a user spends scrolling their newsfeed. To this end, Facebook’s approach is to display posts it deems valuable to each member. But how does this algorithm work? And can you turn it to your Advantage? The answer is yes. We explain it all to you in this article.

What is the Facebook algorithm?

What is the Facebook algorithm

Previously, when you opened the Facebook app on News Feed, you viewed posts there chronologically. Today, this is no longer the case. An algorithm decides which posts to display, considering what would be valuable to you.

Each time a user refreshes their Facebook News Feed, the algorithm calculates to rank content in order of importance. In other words, it evaluates each publication by assigning it a score. However, note that the algorithm can also decide not to display content.

According to some reviews, Facebook adopts this strategy to make brands pay to promote their content. But for the social media giant, it’s a way to filter posts only to show those relevant or newsworthy.

Either way, Facebook’s algorithm can make follower counts irrelevant to the reach of a piece of content.

His evolution

Facebook’s algorithm has undergone several modifications over the years and has continued evolving. To meet user needs, recommendation algorithms prioritize certain aspects, like that of TikTok. But let’s start at the beginning.

The beginnings of the Facebook algorithm

The beginnings of the Facebook algorithm

Mark Zuckerberg started the social media platform in 2004. Since the News Feed was created in 2006, posts have been listed chronologically. A year later, the application integrated the “Like” button.

In 2009, Facebook decided to give popularity more important than chronology. In other words, the algorithm started by placing the most popular content at the top of the list. After two years, it focused more on each user by offering more relevant content. He gave priority to engagement and exchanges with family and friends.

Then, in 2015, the developers added a new setting that allows you to ” choose who to display first. “ Facebook’s algorithm has also started demoting content deemed excessively promotional.

More Ranking Signals

In 2016, a new ranking signal, including time, was integrated into the system. Simply put, the more time a user spends on a post, the more valuable it is. Live videos are more attractive, and Facebook’s algorithm prioritized them.

After a year, he took a new approach by considering feedback instead of just a thumbs up. As for video content, the completion rate determined its interest.

During 2018, the new priority was “ meaningful social interactions.” The following year, originality and quality of content took center stage. In addition, the mutual commitment between users (“ close friends ”) was also considered.

In the past two years

In 2020, Facebook’s biggest endeavor was to make users better understand how the algorithm works. However, they question the impact of data mining on their privacy. On the other hand, another concern is the promotion of misinformation.

Note that Facebook’s algorithm is a multi-layer machine learning algorithm that learns from its mistakes. Since 2021, users could personalize their newsfeeds. Simply put, the algorithm surveys users to determine which posts to display. And still, with meaningful interactions in mind, Facebook continues to prioritize friends over publishers. For this purpose, it has added the ” Favorites ” option that each user can select manually.

How does Facebook’s algorithm work?

Among other things, Facebook’s algorithm evaluates posts to determine which ones deserve to be displayed on the News Feed. To do this, it considers various factors to calculate the probabilities.

These factors are extracted from messages and content in a user’s network. This first step is known as the inventory filter. Also, before making recommendations, the algorithm first makes predictions. It predicts, so to speak, how the user will react to a particular content.

Based on this predictive analysis, the algorithm assigns relevance scores to filter posts (rank or downgrade). When it comes to downgraded content, it’s usually clickbait and misinformation. The ” Hide post ” option is also a way that Facebook uses to filter content.

Ranking signals

Ranking signals

The ranking signals used by Facebook’s algorithm can be split into two groups. The first, passive signals, are criteria that do not involve direct action (clicks). As for the second category, active signals are commitments expressed by interactions.

Facebook says it uses thousands of signals to rank posts. Nevertheless, there are four points around which the algorithm mainly revolves.


In ​​favoring friends and family, this first signal relates to the accounts with which the user interacts most often. It can be about a person, a company, an information page, or a public figure. The algorithm takes into account posts, tags, page subscriptions, etc.

The engagement rate

The engagement rate

The engagement rate refers to the popularity of a post. In other words, Facebook’s algorithm evaluates content based on reactions, comments, and shares. It also considers negative interactions such as “hiding the post” or unliking.

To help you understand ​​what that means in practice, here’s how Facebook’s algorithm rates interactions. A like mention equals an additional 1 point; a comment is worth 6, while a share is worth 13 points. On the other hand, a negative interaction can cause a post to lose 100 points.

The type of content

On the other hand, another layer of the algorithm focuses on the type of media the user interacts with most often. It uses this signal to determine what content to display based on what it contains (video, photo, link, etc.).


Admittedly, other ranking signals have long since superseded the chronological order. However, Facebook takes into account the recency of a message. Therefore, all the selection factors we mentioned above, combined with the date and time of the publication, determine which publication to place in priority.

What is the impact of Facebook’s algorithm?

What is the impact of Facebook's algorithm

Among other consequences of Facebook’s algorithm, it significantly impacts businesses, especially marketing. First, sorting posts means that marketers must put in more effort for the algorithm to give them a good score. But the intensification of marketing efforts also translates into an increase in expenses.

Also, a fairly recent feature of Facebook for Apple iOS is the ability to opt out of data sharing. For individual users, this would allow them to see less promotional content. But for businesses, it’s an additional limitation to advertising efforts. Simply put, Facebook’s algorithm causes the reach of organic posts to drop.

Let the numbers speak.

Since the iOS update, a study found a 60% drop in sales among small businesses. Also, while the average reach of an organic post was 7.7% in 2018, in 2020, it was only 5.2%. As for the average engagement, the rate went from 0.25% in 2020 to 0.08% in 2021 for accounts with more than 100,000 followers.

How to beat the Facebook algorithm?

How to beat the Facebook algorithm

All of these impacts can give the impression that Facebook will cause businesses to lose with its algorithm. It could be the case if these need to improve their performance. However, there are ways to get the better of the system. Here is how you can go about turning the situation to your Advantage.

Work on content

As you will have understood, the algorithm places more importance on the quality of content than on the number of publications. Moreover, it must be meaningful to the target audience. To this end, diversify the content by creating a trending and interesting message for the audience. A post is meaningful if it sparks conversation and grabs users’ attention. It implies a good knowledge of the public.

A video is the type of content that attracts the most audiences and shares. Nonetheless, with inspirational and educational posts or questions, you can drive more engagement on your posts.

Have good timing

The first point we need to address when it comes to timing is the regularity of the posts. You’re more likely to get better organic reach if you post regularly.

On the other hand, it is essential to publish at the right time, that is, when the public is most active. At this level, recency plays an important role. You can therefore analyze the behavior of your subscribers and act accordingly. For this, refer to the Facebook Audience Insights tool, which provides other potentially useful information.

For both of these, there are social media management tools that will help you plan your posts. 

Interact with the public.

Like any good marketing strategy, bring a personal touch to your approach. You can, for example, reply to comments individually. For customers, it means you value them. In addition, when you reply to users, it increases the engagement rate so that the publication appears on their newsfeeds.

Get a Verified Badge

We have also seen that Facebook’s algorithm favors original and authentic content. Obtaining a ” Verified ” badge allows you to give in because it means that your page is authentic. It also improves the image that the public can have of your brand.

Facebook Ads

Facebook offers an effective solution that can outsmart the algorithm: ads. This paid feature allows both to improve visibility with subscribers, above all, to reach new audiences. It goes beyond organic reach, usually only reaching people who already follow your page.

The stories

If the question is “how to bypass Facebook’s algorithm?” “Going through the stories would be the most appropriate response. Indeed, since a day is not displayed in the newsfeed, it simply means it is not subject to content filtering.

But even then, quality, timing, and originality remain paramount. Ultimately, the goal remains, first and foremost, to increase audience engagement.


Across all social media, hashtags are well known to help optimize posts. Without having to pay a sum, it is a fairly effective way to get noticed by non-subscribers. However, there is no point in over-optimizing by using too many hashtags. Stick to using two or three, choosing the most relevant to your content.

Avoid clickbait and misinformation.

Some approaches are very clearly aimed at enticing commitment. It is the case for posts that include messages such as “like/like/share if you agree.” Facebook’s algorithm usually downgrades this kind of content for abuse. Likewise, he deslike deep and misinformation. So avoid falling into these easy practices.

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