Facebook is adding new capabilities to allow users greater control over what appears in their news feeds, according to the company.
In recent years, the social network has come under fire for the way its algorithms favor content.
It now claims to be experimenting with options to “modify people’s ranking choices” and personalize the feed.
Increasing the quantity of postings from friends and family while lowering those from groups and pages is one example.
It will also make existing options “easier to reach,” such as the favorites and sleep functions, which are mostly contained behind a settings sub-menu. “We’ll start testing with a small proportion of individuals in countries throughout the world, gradually increasing in the coming weeks,” Facebook stated in its announcement post.
“This is part of our continuous effort to give consumers greater control over their news feeds, so they see more of what they want and less of what they don’t,” says the company. It comes as Facebook and its parent firm Meta, which has been renamed Meta, face political pressure to allow users to opt out of its ranking methods.
In the testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, the so-called “engagement-based ranking” was repeatedly criticized, with Haugen claiming that it prioritized divisive and extremist material. Facebook disagrees, but the viewpoint has gained traction among others.
A group of US politicians has introduced the “Filter Bubble Transparency Act,” which aims to ensure that social media platforms provide users with the choice of using them without algorithmic manipulation.
That would put Facebook a long way closer to its original state. When Facebook was initially introduced, it simply displayed all of your friends’ posts in chronological order, with the most recent ones appearing first.