‘Why am I seeing this post?’ Facebook launches feature which tells you why it shares certain articles and ads on your News Feed – but isn’t revealing its secret ranking scores
- The new feature explains how their algorithms decide what’s in your News Feed
- It will be found in the drop-down menu that appears at the top right of every post
- The update comes as the company copes with several major scandals
- Facebook was put under pressure to change its policies after a gunman livestreamed the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand
Facebook is rolling out a new feature called ‘Why am I seeing this post?’ that explains the factors the site uses to decides which posts appear in your News Feed.
A new button will show you how your previous activity on the social network has led its algorithms to prioritise contain from certain people, groups and organisations.
Facebook says the feature – which will be rolled out to all users by May 2 – will help you have more control over what you see from friends, pages and groups.
The company keeps a score for everyone you interact with based on factors including how often your interact and whether a group of friend is a recent addition.
Mark Zuckerberg’s firm has remained tight lipped over how it works out the ‘ranking’ system which decides in exactly what order content appears, however.
The update comes as the company copes with several major scandals regarding user privacy and allegedly spreading misinformation and propaganda.
Facebook was put under pressure to change its policies after a gunman livestreamed the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on its platform.
Other social giants like Twitter and YouTube have been criticised for recommending content without explaining why they are appearing to users.
Facebook is rolling out a new feature called ‘Why am I seeing this post?’ that explains the factors the site uses to decides which posts appear in your News Feed. Facebook says the feature will help you have more control over what you see from friends, pages and groups
This is the first time that the social media company has released information on how ranking works as feature of the into the app, it claims in a blog post.
The button will be found in the drop-down menu that appears at the top right of every post in the News Feed.
This will explain how your past interactions on the site impacts the ranking of posts in your News Feed and allows you to take action to further personalise what we see.
The tool will offer context such as ‘you’ve commented on posts with photos more than other media types’.
It also explains what information generally has the largest influence over the order of posts.
This includes how often you interact with posts from people, Pages or Groups; how often you interact with a specific type of post, for example, videos, photos or links.
It also takes into account the popularity of the posts shared by the people, Pages and Groups you follow.
The new button, which will roll out full on the 2nd of May, will indicate what previous activity has led its algorithms choosing certain posts. Facebook says the feature will help users have more control what you see from friends, Pages and Groups in your News Feed
The company are also adding more information to the ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’ feature which has appeared on advertisements since 2014.
It will now let people know if details on their Facebook profile matched those on an advertiser’s database.
They said they will now provide details such as when the advertiser uploaded the information or if the advertiser worked with another marketing partner to run the ad.
It already revealed whether some of your online activity, such as the location where you connected to the internet, was being used to target ads at you.
The new button menu will also include links to personalisation options, including See First, News Feed Preferences and Unfollow.
The company’s blog post said that ‘during our research on ”Why am I seeing this post?,” people told us that transparency into News Feed algorithms wasn’t enough without corresponding controls.’
HOW FACEBOOK PRIORITIZES FRIENDS IN YOUR NEWS FEED
Up until now, Facebook has prioritized material that its algorithms think people will engage with through comments, ‘likes’ or other ways of showing interest.
But 33-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to change the focus to help users have ‘more meaningful social interactions.’
The move follows his resolution in 2018 to ‘fix’ the site.
It is also in response to criticism that Facebook and its social media competitors reinforce users’ views on social and political issues.
Critics also say sites like Facebook lead to addictive viewing habits.
Zuckerberg cited research that suggests reading ‘passively’ on social media was damaging for people’s mental health, while interacting proactively with friends was positive.
According to Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s New Feed boss, in practice the change mean
- Posts from friends and family will get more prominence that video, news, and other content from formal Facebook pages, such as companies and celebrities
- The number of comments on a post will count more than the number of Likes
- Posts where people have spend the time to write lengthy comments will be prioritized over those with only short comments
- While, news and video will still appear in News Feed, the number of friends sharing it will matter more than its overall popularity
The shift could mean that the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement would go down in the short term.
However, Zuckerberg said it would be better for users and for the business over the long term.