In Facebook’s feed filter bar, you can view your newsfeed in three ways: algorithmic (home), posts … [+]
One of the most requested features for Facebook is the ability to display newsfeed posts in chronological order rather than showing them through the mysterious lens of the social giant’s algorithm. Now Facebook is rolling out this feature, although it isn’t exactly what most users would prefer.
It’s just a set of tools that were featured in two blog posts on Wednesday. One, a traditional piece on Facebook itself, and another, a 5,000 word essay published on Medium. The longer piece is more than just a product announcement, but rather a defense of the Facebook algorithm against allegations that have polarized society. It was written by Nick Clegg, the company’s Vice President of Global Affairs and former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Its title: “You and the Algorithm: It Makes Two Tango.” (You can find a truncated version on Facebook.) The point: Users control the algorithm, not the other way around.
The new features allow you to have better control of the Facebook algorithm and display the content of Facebook your way. To some extent, some aren’t necessarily new, but Facebook makes them easy for you to use. The changes are available in the Facebook mobile apps. It’s not clear if the web version will get them.
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• • A new feed filter strip has three tabs: Home, which is the traditional algorithmic feed; Favorites filled with posts from up to 30 friends and pages you specify; and Latest, posts from friends, groups, and popular pages in chronological order.
To be clear, Facebook has always allowed you to switch to a chronological feed, even though it’s hidden in a menu (click the 3-bar menu in the lower right corner of the app and select Recent) and returns return to an algorithmic display the next time you open the app.
The favorites display builds on Facebook’s previous addition of favorite sources to be prioritized in your feed. You can already see a feed that is only based on favorites: 3-bar menu> Show more> Favorites.
The feed filter bar is already available in the Android version of the app. According to Facebook, iOS users might have to wait a few weeks for it to appear. However, it’s already visible in the iOS app on my iPhone and won’t show up at the top of the app until I start scrolling.
The feed filter bar as it appears on an iOS device.
• • Limit who can comment A Twitter function is mimicked in your posts. You can limit comments to anyone who can see the post, friends, or specific people or pages you flag. While there’s no easy way to prevent commenting altogether, it would be possible to mark a page you own as the sole source of comments and effectively turn it off.
• • Why do you see a post? In the algorithm view it was a mystery at times, but Facebook is expanding its “Why am I seeing this?” Function to include each post. You can now click on the three button menu on any post and “Why am I seeing this post?” Choose. If you are friends with someone or you like a site, this is obvious. However, this helps shed some light on why posts from seemingly random sources are showing up in your feed.
Facebook is now giving you more information about why a particular post is showing up in your newsfeed.
In his Medium article, Clegg goes into more detail about how the Facebook algorithm works, positions the new functions to provide more transparency, and trains the algorithm further to organize content so that you like it. He says that “Content Ranking is a dynamic partnership between people and algorithms. You need two for the tango on Facebook. “
He also goes into a robust defense against critics who have claimed Facebook benefited from displaying sensational, extreme, and divisive content that keeps users stuck on the platform, and insists that:
“The reality is that it is neither financially nor seriously in Facebook’s interest to continually raise the temperature and persuade users to increasingly extreme content.
“The company’s long-term growth is best served when people continue to use its products for years to come. If it came down to keeping you online 10 or 20 minutes longer, but it reduced the chances of you coming back in the future, it would be a self defeat. ”
Clegg’s defense comes a week after Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before a US House of Representatives committee to defend his creation against allegations that encourage misinformation.