AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
When Facebook announced in December that its algorithm change would prioritize "high-quality content," publishers and advertisers waited to see what that actually meant.
Well, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that those surveys in your News Feed may be more important to the company than you think. Facebook users themselves will be determining what is "high-quality" and what is not, at least partially.
One way Facebook is doing this is through updated Facebook Feedback surveys users can opt into at the top of their News Feeds.
Facebook has been asking users whether or not posts have been relevant to them since last March, but the new version goes beyond interesting/not interesting and presents a scale on which to judge the statement "This post feels high-quality."
Zuckerberg told the Wall Street Journal that Facebook does more than 35,000 surveys every day to test users' reactions to what is popping up in their News Feeds.
CNBC's social media producer Eli Langer uploaded screenshots of his survey to Imgur. It asked him to grade everything from a collage of his friend's selfies to a couple of ads from his employer.
Therefore, Facebook is feeding "quality" ads to users using traditional targeting methods, but wants to make sure its algorithm got it right.
Zuckerberg told the WSJ that this reliance on users is his way of compromising Facebook's growth as a business with his ideal of keeping the user experience paramount.
He once delegated ads to a sidebar as a necessary evil, but changed his tune when ad sales from companies like McDonald's and Wal-Mart contributed to a surge in revenue. Facebook's revenue rose more than 40 percent in 2013 over the year before, with one-third of it ($3 billion) likely coming from mobile ads.
He told the Journal an anecdote about his time in high school at Philips Exeter Academy that served as a metaphor for changes taking place at his company:
As a student, he was befuddled by a meandering path to the campus cafe. The route seemed strange, so Mr. Zuckerberg did some research.
The answer? "Instead of choosing the path up front, they kind of waited and saw where people walked and put a path where people walked," he says.
Facebook is currently valued at $100 billion.
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