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Facebook Updating Video-Ranking Algorithms to Put More Weight on Original Content With Loyal Audiences

Facebook is tweaking algorithms that determine how videos are surfaced on the social platform, angling to reward video producers that deliver repeat viewers and longer watch times — and demote those that trade in repurposed content.

According to Facebook, it’s going to put more weight on three factors for video ranking: loyalty and viewing intent; video length and viewing duration; and originality. The changes will affect how videos are distributed across Facebook, including in users’ News Feed, on Facebook Watch and in the platform’s video recommendations. The company said it will roll out the updates to its video-ranking system over the next few months.

“These are not new principles, but we will be strengthening their influence among the multiple factors that determine video distribution,” David Miller, Facebook product management director, wrote in a blog post outlining the changes.

By “loyalty and intent,” Facebook means videos from creators and publishers that people seek out and return to on a weekly basis. On time spent viewing, Facebook says videos should hold viewer attention for at least 60 seconds. Under the new ranking scheme it will assign a higher priority on videos that provide longer engagement times — especially on videos that are at least 3 minutes long.

In saying it’s going to prioritize original content, Facebook is indicating it wants to limit distribution of viral videos that originated from another source and has “limited or immaterial added value.” As part that, Miller said the platform will “more strongly limit distribution and monetization” for videos involved in sharing schemes (i.e., Facebook Pages that “methodically and inorganically” share videos).

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A fourth factor that goes into Facebook’s video-ranking calculations is engagement, by which it means content that “sparks conversations and meaningful interactions between real people.”

Under a new policy adopted last year, Facebook already excluded certain types of videos from being eligible for monetization, including repurposed clips and videos comprising static images, minimal movement, or content that just loops.

Also Monday, Facebook released a new guide to video best practices for creators and publishers with additional information.

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