Facebook already knows which articles your friends are liking and sharing, and they are finally ready to share that information with you–and publishers. Today, ahead of its first earnings report, Facebook unveiled yet another way for content providers to tap its social graph: The Recommendations Bar.
The plug-in lives on a publisher’s website and recommends articles based on other articles that your friends have liked or shared. There are similar plug-ins that show which of your friends like the same website, or page, but nothing that is specific to a related article. For readers who have given the site permission to access their Facebook data, these recommendations appear in a pop-up box that slides up from the very bottom of the page when clicked (you can see an example of it on The Mirror). An article recommendation tool from Facebook could become a competitor to content discovery platforms like Outbrain, which allows publishers to monetize articles across a vast network of websites.
According to Facebook engineer Jeffrey Spehar, the handful of news sites that have been piloting the Recommendation Bar tripled the click-through rate for stories that appear in it.