Back in December we wrote about how Upworthy, the good news, fluffy, heartwarming, annoying, viral video meme site was dominating interactions (likes and shares) on Facebook.
So have you seen as many Upworthy videos lately? Me neither.
It’s possible that Facebook users just got sick of all the sweetness, but if so, they had a little help from Facebook itself, which announced in December that it was changing its news feed algorithm to provide more “high quality content” such as news, and less memes. They said their research showed that was what users preferred:
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. 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.
So if you think you’re seeing less memes on Facebook – here’s how it looks at the meme factory:
That’s a graphic from Quantcast data, as interpreted by Business Insider, who draw a clear correlation between the decline in Upworthy’s hits and the Facebook policy change. Although it could be argued that it’s nothing more than a spike in their upward trajectory, which continues. That might be clearer if you look at the weekly figures, for example:
Whichever way you look at it, though, it’s a clear decline from the meme-y heights of December. And even if the long term is unclear, we can be grateful for the small mercy of a little less Upworthiness – at least for now.