Facebook is adding a new feature called "Why am I seeing this post?" to its News Feed, the company announced on Sunday. The feature is similar to the "Why am I seeing this ad?", which has been available since 2014 for all the ads that appear on Facebook. The new feature is designed to explain why a particular post is appearing on a user's News Feed. Facebook is also offering a dropdown menu to users, with personalisation controls.
This is the first time Facebook is being transparent about its News Feed algorithm, although the new feature offers a general overview of it. At a time when Facebook is battling issues surrounding the misuse of its platform, the new feature offers some context to users about their News Feed.
Facebook's "Why am I seeing this post?" feature will appear on the company's mobile apps. Users can access the feature as a dropdown menu on the right-hand side of posts. The feature lets users know why they're seeing a post from their friend, a Page or a Group, and why the algorithm thinks it is relevant for them.
According to Facebook, some of the reasons why a post may appear on a user's News Feed include:
- The post is from a friend, a Facebook Group a user has followed, or a Page that a user is following.
- The order of posts on the News Feed is determined by a bunch of factoring including how often a user interacts with another user, Page, or a Group, how often a user engages with a specific type of post, and the popularity of posts shared by the entities a user follows
The world's largest social network claims people wanted more than just transparency around its News Feed algorithms, during its research. Facebook says people wanted more control and that's the reason it is adding this new feature to make it easier for users to control their feed.
Apart from the new feature, Facebook says it is also updating its "Why am I seeing this ad?" to further improve it. Facebook will now let users know when information on an advertiser's list matches up with their profile. Facebook will also let users know if an advertiser has uploaded a user's personal details like e-mail and phone number to their database.
Facebook's control over moderating its News Feed was questioned after the recent shooting attacks on New Zealand mosques were live streamed on the company's platform. Facebook was also charged by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for violating the Fair Housing Act.