As usual, Facebook has been making a variety of changes to the social network. We're taking a look at 3 of the biggest changes of late, including shared photo albums, the removal of the gifts program, and a shift towards higher quality content.

Shared Photo Albums

In an effort to make their photo offerings more social, Facebook has introduced shared photo albums. Currently, the social network allows individual users to upload a maximum of 1,000 photos to an album they had created. With shared photo albums, up to 50 users can upload a maximum of 200 photos each to a single album. Album creators will be able to control who is invited to contribute to an album. The new setup inherently leads to questions about privacy. Facebook allows the album creator to choose from three privacy settings (public, friends of contributors, and contributors only) to control the distribution of the photos. Album creators will also be able to delete or modify all photos in their album, while individual contributors will only be able to edit the photos they upload. The feature was born during one of Facebook's innovative hackathon sessions, and will roll out to English users beginning this week.

Facebook adds shared photo albums, for collaborative memory making

Facebook Gifts

In a step away from e-commerce, Facebook is shutting down the part of their gift shop which sells physical goods. Launched only last December, Gifts allows Facebook users to send items or gift cards to other users. The company saw little success with the sale of physical goods from Gifts, with 80% of sales going to digital gift cards. Facebook plans to continue offering these gift cards, as well as a Facebook Card- a prepaid credit card which people can use to pay at select merchants. Facebook's new digital-only gift shop has been redesigned and rolls out to all users this week.

High Quality Content

One of the most critical parts of Facebook is the News Feed, and the algorithm which controls it. The algorithm is frequently updated to ensure the right content is seen by the right users at the right time. A recent update to this algorithm was made to ensure people are seeing high quality organic content from the Pages to which they are connected. Facebook developed a number of questions to determine the definition of quality content, including:

  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?
The learnings from these questions were used to build a 'machine learning system' used to detect high quality content. According to Facebook, "t he system uses over a thousand different factors, such as how frequently content from a certain Page is reported as low quality (e.g., hiding a Page post), how complete the Page profile is, and whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base of other known high quality Pages." This component was then added to the News Feed algorithm as an additional factor used to calculate the score of a News Feed story. Tests of the new algorithm have lead to significant increases in interactions, and users hiding fewer stories from their feeds. Facebook suggests that the impact to Pages should be relatively small, and that Pages which are seeing positive engagement from their posts could expect to see further increases in reach. Post strategies should remain the same: Develop high quality content which is optimized for engagement and reach.