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Facebook Grants Users More Control over What They See in News Feed

Facebook aims to boost transparency and user trust in its algorithms

Social media giant Facebook wants to give users more control over what they see on the platform in its algorithmic-driven News Feed feature. Most importantly, the new changes announced by the social media platform aim to help repair its algorithms’ negative reputation, although critics aren’t buying.

It also tries to re-educate users on how the algorithms work. Typically Facebook shows content according to users’ preferences and tastes.

How it works seems like an easy thing to get but, it isn’t. A complex and perplexing algorithm backs Facebook’s News Feed recommendations under the realm.

In a February blog post that tries to decipher Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, a team of Facebook engineers remarked it tries to determine which posts appear and in what order “by predicting what you’re most likely to be interested in or engage with.” This is the simplified version of how the News Feed works.

News Feed changes arrive on the increasing concerns that the company’s algorithm is biased on societal issues.

More Control Over What You See

News Feed content customisation
News Feed content customisation(Image: Facebook)

In place of leaving everything for the algorithm, Facebook users will choose what they see and what order. Users can choose a chronological arrangement of content(latest posts are given priority) or only content from favourites. The other option is the default one that leaves the heavy lifting for Facebook’s algorithm as it has always been.

Facebook app, following the news, will include a Feed filter button to choose between the different options.

The site will also provide more context on why certain types of content are shown to you.

In a recent post, Facebook’s Nick Clegg, VP Global affairs, took onto Medium highlighting their recent changes’ main intent.

“These measures are part of a significant shift in the company’s thinking about how it gives people greater understanding of, and control over, how its algorithms rank content, and how it can at the same time utilize content ranking and distribution to ensure the platform has a positive impact on society as a whole.”

He references several dystopian depictions in The Social Dilemma, a documentary by Netflix, and Surveillance Capitalism, a book by Harvard social psychologist Shoshana Zuboff.

Both predict an apocalyptic era lead by social media companies’ whims, with advanced algorithms taking full control over what users can and cannot do.

Control Who can Comment on your Post

Facebook is also releasing a new option letting users choose who can comment on a specific public post. These options are included in a new menu. Facebook has added two options, friends and only the people and Pages you tag.

News Feed comment moderation
Facebook comment moderation feature (Image: Facebook)

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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