Being the first page most users see when they log into Facebook, the New Feed is obviously one of the areas that most research and optimization would focus on. As part of an effort to improve the experience for users, Facebook has decided to add the time spent viewing a post in optimizing News Feed. This goes on top of the regular signals of liking, commenting and sharing of posts. Facebook will be rolling out the feature starting today and over the next couple weeks
As befitting a team from such a large organization, the analysis extends beyond a simple calculation of time spent. In order to weed out slow internet connections, the focus will be on the relative time spent on certain posts compared to the majority of posts. Facebook also looks like they will be considering scrolling speed as well as part of determining time spent on a post. Similar posts will then show up more often and higher up in the News Feed.
While such a move to improve News Feed to make it more relevant is good, it runs the chance of becoming annoying. YouTube for instance, will change the entire genre of videos it suggests to me based on my last 3 videos. Having all my suggestions change so quickly and start showing me somewhat irrelevant videos can be galling. Hopefully, Facebook can avoid such a problem but it looks like they are already doing just fine.