Popular social networking company Facebook is all set to introduce some new features to give users more control over their news feed. This update would mainly focus on what shows up on users’ news feed and who can comment on their posts. On Wednesday, Facebook announced these changes along with several other updates, all of which are aimed at increasing transparency on the platform and intended to build trust among Facebook users on how the platform’s algorithms work.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs, said he had a problem with the way some people claimed that Facebook’s algorithms intended to fuel polarization and meant to manipulate the users for monetary gains. Further, Clegg said that these new features announced by Facebook are part of the company’s broader move to show people that their experience on the platform only depends on their ‘own’ relationship with Facebook’s algorithm.
This is a big step taken by the social networking company as for years now, the users and industry stakeholders alike have criticized it. It has also remained under scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators over its targeted ad business model and also for the role it played in the 2016 US Presidential Elections. People have also targeted Facebook over the unrestrained spread of hate, false information, and harassment that the platform allegedly allows being circulated. These changes could also be a way for the company to sidestep its responsibility towards keeping a check on the content circulating on the platform by allowing the users to control what they see in their news feed. Nevertheless, besides all this, it also addresses the issues of hate speech and harassment by enabling users to limit who can comment on their posts, a feature the popular microblogging site Twitter launched a couple of months ago.
Control What You See in Your Facebook News Feed
The most significant feature that Facebook is set to introduce is the tool that lets users control what content shows up on their news feed on the platform, along with the order in which they want to view it. With the launch of this feature, users will have the option to choose whether they want to see the content in chronological order or in the order that it is published or in the current way that the platform’s algorithm controls.
Besides this, if users still feel unsatisfied with both these options, they could also filter the content so that they only see posts from their favorites.
Users will be able to access this tool in the Feed Filters bar, which would appear at the top of the news feed. It would also let users switch between multiple tabs, including “Favorites” and “Recent.” In order to see content only from favorite pages and users, first, the users will have to select certain accounts whose content they would like to see in their news feed. Facebook introduced this feature of choosing favorite accounts late last year. Users can pick up to 30 favorite pages or accounts. However, if a user does not access their filter bar over the course of a week (by tapping on the Favorites or Recent tab), it will automatically disappear. To re-access it, the user will just have to swipe up, and it will reappear.
In addition to this, the algorithm would also give reasons why a user sees content from accounts they don’t follow. Users do see content from accounts they don’t follow on their news feed because of Facebook’s algorithms. While the platform would continue to do this, users can now understand why they see such content by clicking on the “Why am I seeing this” option.
Now, as for controlling who can comment on posts, users would be able to select options ranging from allowing all users who see the particular post to only giving permission to specific tagged accounts. A similar feature was released by the microblogging platform Twitter last year, and it intends to minimize unwanted interactions.
Wrapping It Up
The social media giant Facebook is all set to introduce some exciting new features that would allow users more control over their news feed. Users would now be able to control the content they wish to see on their news feed and in what order (whether chronologically, in the order it is posted, or in the current way Facebook algorithms control). Besides this, users can also choose to see content only from their favorites; however, for that, they must select their favorite users and pages first. These new features will appear in the Feed Filters bar on the top of the news feed from where users can access it. According to the latest announcements, the company has started rolling out these features already, and they will be available to all users in the coming weeks.