GIANT DUMPSTER FIRE Facebook is trying once again to convince us that it knows what it's doing - by finally sharing it with us.
Users of the Facebook News Feed will now have the option to click "Why am I seeing this post?" on any entry and it will explain why the algorithm has ranked it where it has on the page. The feature also works on Pages and Groups.
The new option is an expansion of the existing "Why am I seeing this ad?" feature that already existed but has been given an overhaul as part of this launch.
You can now see why a post is appearing, perhaps as part of a group you joined or a friend you made and forgotten about. You'll also be able to see what information that Facebook has that it's using to make the decision, including relating it to how you've interacted with previous similar material and the popularity in the wider groups and pages you've opted to follow.
Armed with that new information you can now act on it, choosing to See First and Unfollow as well as tweak your News Feed preferences and Privacy settings.
Quoth Facebook: "During our research on "Why am I seeing this post?", people told us that transparency into News Feed algorithms wasn't enough without corresponding controls. People wanted to be able to take action, so we've made it easy to manage what you see in News Feed right from this feature."
Adverts will now show you exactly what demographic data has influenced the decision to serve adverts to you specifically, as well as your declared interests and (erk) web history - including what information advertisers have on you, but that's on an opt-in from the advertiser. It will also show if a marketing company was involved in placing the ad.
Facebook, which continues to suffer from privacy scandals on an almost daily basis has earnestly said: "Both of these updates are part of our ongoing investment in giving people more context and control across Facebook. We will continue to listen to your feedback and evolve these features over time."
Yeah, alright Facebook. Thanks for the carrot. Maybe its time to just give us access to the whole greengrocers, yeah? μ
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