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The Increased Significance of Facebook Negative Feedback

Published: April 4, 2013

Author: Chad Wittman

Facebook Insights provides a wide variety of metrics, but Negative Feedback, interestingly enough, is not prominently displayed. Yet, it should be.
Last fall, when Facebook admins were complaining of decreased Reach for their brands, Facebook attempted to quell the complaints by explaining the latest EdgeRank changes. The changes inevitably boil down to an increase in Weight of Negative Feedback in the EdgeRank algorithm.

What is Negative Feedback?

facebook negative feedback
Negative Feedback is when a user sees an object in the news feed and goes to the upper right-hand corner drop-down to Hide, Report, etc.
Facebook defines Negative Feedback as:

  • Hide: hide this story
  • Hide All: hide all stories from a Page
  • Report Spam
  • Unlike Page

What is EdgeRank?

EdgeRank is an algorithm developed by Facebook to determine which Page’s posts are displayed within the news feed to each user.
The EdgeRank algorithm has three main components: Affinity (the relationship between objects), Weight (the significance of the interaction between objects), and Time Decay (the recency in which the interaction took place). Combining these components (looking at the sum of these “edges”) creates an EdgeRank for the object. The higher the EdgeRank, the more likely it is to be in a user’s news feed.
From the data we’ve studied, it appears that when a user creates Negative Feedback for an object, the Weight (or significance) of this action has been increased (more significant).

What Does This All Mean?

It’s imperative to understand and monitor your content’s Negative Feedback. An understanding of which content topics and posts have driven the most Negative Feedback will help Page Admins avoid it in the future. Pages receiving high levels of Negative Feedback have suffered a significant decrease in Reach since this past fall. Pages that had moderate Negative Feedback levels most likely did not experience a significant decrease in Reach.

How Can A Page Admin Avoid Negative Feedback?

Most Facebook users only “Hide” posts that they don’t want to see. Hiding an object is the least severe of the different types of Negative Feedback. Admins don’t want to see users Hiding All or, even worse, Unliking the page. A few key tips can help reduce Negative Feedback:
– Keep content in line with fans’ expectations
– Understand that highly engaging content also draws high levels of Negative Feedback
– Monitor how applying Paid Media is impacting Negative Feedback levels

The Future

Content on Facebook will always be judged by the levels of engagement it receives — and Facebook will be taking into account how much Negative Feedback the content receives as well. It is imperative to monitor and understand this balance for your own content. Moving forward, it can be assumed these foundations will hold true.
Understand your audience, understand how they want to consume your content, and deliver it to the best of your ability. The inner workings of EdgeRank will reward the brands that take this to heart.

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