Your Facebook News Feed will soon rank websites based on load time

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Why it matters to you

Soon, your Facebook News Feed might look a bit different. The latest update will rank faster loading websites higher on your feed to provide you with more relevant stories.

In order to make the browsing experience more enjoyable on your News Feed, Facebook announced it is rolling out an update within the upcoming months. The mobile app will show users more stories that load quickly, pushing ones that may take longer further down in your feed — giving you relevant content that you will spend time reading.

This update will help Facebook zone in on a variety of different factors when someone clicks on any link in the News Feed through a mobile device. This includes the estimated load time of and general speed of the website, along with your current network connection. If signals show the website will load quickly, that link will appear higher in your feed and bury those that are slower.

The company explained it has been taking many factors into account for years to make sure Facebook users see relevant stories quickly. Your News Feed, especially, considers the type of device you are using and the speed of the mobile network or Wi-Fi connection. If you are on a slower internet connection that is not loading videos, your feed will show fewer videos and more links or status updates instead.

To load stories faster for those on a slow network, Facebook prefetches stories — meaning the mobile content is downloaded before clicking on the link. Stories are prefetched based on how likely you will click on the link in the mobile News Feed. If the prediction score measures up to the specific requirements, the initial HTML file is downloaded when the link appears on your screen. The content is then cached locally on your device for a short period of time.

Ultimately, Facebook appears to be heavily focused on enhancing the user experience. Last week, the company launched Messenger Platform 2.1 with new features that make it easier for consumers to speak with brands directly — creating a more personal experience. Prior to that, a global Messenger ads beta was released to help people discover brands more easily.

By updating the News Feed algorithm, the company hopes to find a solution for users who are frustrated with clicking a link that leads to a slow-loading page. Facebook will roll out the update gradually over the next few months but anticipates it will not cause significant changes to distribution for Pages. Websites that are slow on the other hand, could see a decrease in referral traffic.