Facebook has found yet another way to try to loosen Twitter’s grip on the news cycle by tweaking the algorithm on its News Feed.
The firm announced Monday that users may see fewer memes and more links to stories relating to current affairs and sports. “Our surveys show that, on average, people prefer links to high-quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team, or shared interests to the latest meme,” wrote Varun Kacholia, engineering manager, and Minwen Ji, software engineer, on the Facebook blog.
“Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high-quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high-quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.”
It’s hard to predict whether this move will appeal to the highly coveted teenage demographic. On one hand, most teens like their memes–so much so that Time magazine recently referred to millennials as the “me me me generation.” On the other, they like to solve social problems and help others. Teenage Facebook use is dropping, and the firm is doing everything it can to stem the outgoing tide, from fiddling with its privacy settings to offering big money for teen-friendly startups.
The firm is already attempting to muscle in on Twitter’s other sphere of dominance: television. Last month, it updated its Android app to alert users when a TV show whose page they had liked on Facebook was about to start transmitting.