Facebook introducing a Mobilegeddon-like algorithm change to its News Feed

FacebookFacebook is set to begin prioritising stories that load more quickly on mobile over those that load slower – in a move that has parallels with Google’s famous ‘Mobilegeddon’ of 2015.

The update to the News Feed on mobile means that Facebook will begin to take into account the estimated load time of a link based on factors such as the user’s current network connect and the general speed of the webpage. If the webpage is likely to load quickly, it will be pushed higher up the feed.

“We’ve heard from people that it’s frustrating to click on a link that leads to a slow-loading webpage. In fact, even more broadly on the internet, we’ve found that when people have to wait for a site to load for too long, they abandon what they were clicking on all together. As many as 40 percent of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay,” said Facebook’s engineers in a post.

“During the coming months, we’re making an update to News Feed to show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load, so they can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant.”

This sounds very reminiscent of the algorithm that Google introduced back in 2015 which gave mobile-friendly websites preference in ranking for organic searches. The decision by Google then hit companies that didn’t work to create more mobile-friendly sites very hard – with those sites seeing up to a 10 per cent decrease in traffic. Google built on this earlier this year when it introduced a new rule to its algorithm which means that sites with ‘intrusive interstitials’ also get downgraded.

In case of Facebook’s prioritisation of particularly stories, it can be expected that pages that don’t improve their speeds will begin to slide down people’s News Feeds and, much like with the Mobilegeddon, be hit hard by decreases in traffic. The updated algorithm will begin rolling out gradually over the next few months.