Facebook lets users pick who they want to see first

Steven Loeb · July 9, 2015 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3eaf

The company is giving some control of News Feed back to users to increase engagement and time spent

I don't really trust the Facebook algorithm. There's something that will always been strange to me about a machine deciding what I should, or should not, be seeing. That's why I set my News Feed to most recent. I know I'm still not seeing everything. I have 435 friends, so that would be impossible.

Do other people feel the same way that I do? I imagine so, and now Facebook is doing something about it. It's not much, but it is a step in the right direction.

Basically, the company has announced that it is giving some control over the News Feed back to its users. 

That means the ability for users to select which friends and Pages they would like to see at the top of their News Feed. So if you'd rather see what your mother, brother or girlfriend has to say about things, rather than some random person you haven't seen since high school, now you can make that happen.

Users just need to go to News Feed Preferences, and tap on a friend’s profile picture to see their posts first. Any new stories they’ve shared since the last visit time that person visited Facebook will go straight to the of the News Feed, with a star in the top right of their post so that the user will know why they’re at the top.

There's also a new feature to help people find Pages to follow, based on the types of Pages they have liked in the past.

This is the latest in a long line of move made by Facebook to not only enhance content on News Feed, by pushing out things like spam and click-bait headlines, but a way for it to give people the things that they most want to see.

In November of last year, the company debuted an easier way to unfollow certain people on the feed by showing a list of the top people, Pages and Groups that a user had seen in their News Feed over the past week. Users can also see who you’ve unfollowed in the past and can choose to re-follow them at anytime.

In June, Facebook announced that it was updating News Feed’s ranking to factor in a new signal, based on how much time a user spends viewing a story in their Feed, rather if they liked, commented or shared it. Last week it did something similar to video.

The point of this is to increase the amount of time that people spend on their feeds, and to increase the level of engagement. Ironically, if Facebook does push more of the best content to the top, that might actually wind up decreasing time spent, since there will be less reason to keep scrolling down!

"News Feed is a personalized stream of stories that you build from the people and Pages you’ve connected to on Facebook. The goal of News Feed is to show you the stories that matter most to you. To do this, we use ranking to order stories based on how interesting we believe they are to you: specifically, whom you tend to interact with, and what kinds of content you tend to like and comment on," the company said in the blog post.

"We’re always working to improve and personalize your News Feed experience. We know that ultimately you’re the only one who truly knows what is most meaningful to you and that is why we want to give you more ways to control what you see."

(Image source: dennisthefoodie.com)

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