EdgeRank's Newest Factor: Negative Feedback

Posted on February 26th 2013

EdgeRank's Newest Factor: Negative Feedback

EdgeRank is a fancy algorithm that Facebook uses to decide what content to distribute to users’ news feeds  This is a very important concept and if you happen to be a community manager, you should definitely educate yourself on the inner workings of Edgerank. Until recently, Edgerank was influenced by 3 major factors; affinity, weight and time decay.  According to EdgeRankChecker, Facebook has made a recent change to the algorithm which increases the importance of Negative Feedback. I personally think that this addition makes perfect sense and will make EdgeRank a more thorough algorithm.

Before we dive into Negative Feedback, let’s briefly refresh ourselves on the original factors that make up EdgeRank:

  • Affinity – Affinity is the prior interaction with a page’s posts. If a user engages with a lot of content from a particular page, they will see the page’s content more often.  This also includes other people’s reactions to a content piece. If many people engage with a content piece, it is more likely to show up in another user’s timeline.
  • Weight – Weight is based on previous interaction with posts of the same type. For instance, if a person usually engages with photos, they will be shown more photos.
  • Time Decay – Time decay is essentially how recent the content is. Facebook always wants to provide users with the most recent and relevant content, so an older content piece is less likely to be shown.

Now that we recall the basics of EdgeRank, let’s take a look at Facebook’s newest tweak to the formula, Negative Feedback. Facebook defines Negative Feedback as any time that a user hides a content piece, hides all content from a page, reports content as spam or unlikes a page. In simpler terms, Negative Feedback is any clickable negative engagement action that a user can take with a page or its content.  This is very important to note because while we all like to think of engagement as a positive thing, it appears that negative engagement does exist and could be detrimental to your page.

EdgerRankChecker did a very thorough study of over 5,000 Facebook pages and found that the average Negative Feedback per post is roughly 0.03%. It looks like every page will experience some kind of negative feedback, but it looks like Facebook users are pretty forgiving when it comes to expressing negative feedback. Based on EdgeRankChecker’s study, 76% of users express negative feedback by hiding a page’s post rather than unliking the page altogether. Here is the full breakdown of how users in their study reported Negative Feedback:

  • Hide Post – 76%
  • Hide All Posts – 16%
  • Report as Spam – 8%
  • Unlike Page – 1%

It’s comforting to know that users would rather hide a single post or all posts from a page instead of clicking the dreaded unlike button.  The more Negative Feedback your content gets, the less likely people will see it. It is VERY important to always be listening to your community and trying to provide them with the most relevant content possible. If you don’t give them what they want, they will begin tuning you out.

How do you plan on avoiding being penalized by Negative Feedback?

Nate Mendenhall

Nathan Mendenhall

Manager, Cendyn/ONE

Nathan Mendenhall is a social media manager at Cendyn/ONE in Boca Raton, Florida. He has extensive experience with creating and implementing successful social media strategies for both B2B and B2C brands. Connect with him at @NCMSocial!


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Posted on February 27th 2013 at 4:39AM

Interesting points Nathan & this is definitely important news for anyone in community management.

Do you think Facebook should make it easier to send "negative engagement"? At the moment it's quite a pain to click on the "X" and then decide which thing to do.

Unliking a page is even more clicks.

I know that makes me sound like a complete slob (who can't be bothered with an extra few clicks) Haha... but what's your view on this?

Nate Mendenhall
Posted on February 27th 2013 at 9:04AM

I think FB takes it easy on pages by making people take a few clicks to unlike a page. Its in FB's best interest to have pages build up engaged communities, so they probably have it set this way to cut down on unlikes. However, if pages are annoying or boring, nothing will keep me from that Unlike button.


I think you bring up an interesting point and Facebook should make it easier to express neg. feedback and report to community managers thoroughly on the stats. It will only help us all get better!


Thank you!


Posted on February 27th 2013 at 5:01AM

So, how can community manager get to know how many posts get hidden or how many fans have hidden all posts?


Nate Mendenhall
Posted on February 27th 2013 at 9:00AM

Hi Florian,

As of now, the only way to track negative feedback w/o a 3rd party tool is to look at the Unlikes of the page in Facebook Insights. Vitrue provides deep negative feedback tracking, but it can be pricey depending on the size of your community. I would recommend keeping an eye on the unlikes and how your community responds to certain content types. If you notice a spike in unlikes, you might want to alter your strayegy.

I hope this helps!