Facebook has announced a new feature called “Why am I seeing this post?” which will help you better understand the content that shows up on your News Feed from friends, Pages and Groups you follow. Not only that, but this will also give you more control over what you see in the News Feed, letting you easily manage the posts you interact with on the site. The company says this is the first time it has built information on how News Feed ranking works directly into the Facebook app, noting that it is part of its efforts to be more transparent with users about how its algorithms target you.
To get access to the new tool, first reported by The Telegraph, all you have to do is click or tap the drop-down menu on the right hand corner of a post. From there, you’ll be able to view info at a glance on why you’re seeing certain posts on your News Feed — e.g. because you’re a member of X Group or Page on Facebook — as well as manage the content you’d like to see more or less of. You’ll get shortcuts to controls to help you further personalize your News Feed too, including See First, Unfollow, News Feed Preferences and Privacy Shortcuts.
Facebook says that during its research for the “Why am I seeing this post” feature, which is available starting today, it learned that people wanted more than transparency on its News Feed algorithms. They wanted more control, and that’s why it decided to roll out the tools to make it simpler for users to manage the posts they see on their feed.
In addition to these changes, Facebook is updating its “Why am I seeing this ad?” tool to make it even more transparent than before. Now, on top of showing you factors like basic demographics or interests that may have contributed to an ad you came across on the site, Facebook will let you know when information on an advertiser’s list matches your profile. What’s more, Facebook is providing details if an advertiser uploaded your personal data to its database, such as email and phone number, or whether it worked with another marketing partner to try to target you with an ad.
“Both of these updates are part of our ongoing investment in giving people more context and control across Facebook,” the company said in a blog post. “We will continue to listen to your feedback and evolve these features over time.”
At a time when Facebook is under heavy scrutiny by the public and governments, it needs to be as transparent as possible with users. The new features certainly don’t solve all of its problems, but at least they’re a step in the right direction.