Facebook has announced the introduction of an update that will make it easier for users to view a non-algorithmic version of their News Feed.
The majority of the features detailed in the announcement are not new to the platform. The goal of this update is to make it much easier to access and modify these tools. Users can now find a new Feed Filter Bar on mobile versions of Facebook which provides access to options that allow them to determine what posts do and do not appear on their Feed. Algorithm-driven contextual content will presumably be included among the new options.
One new feature gives players the ability to control who can and cannot comment on their posts. This follows the increasing popularity of the existing share filter, which allows users to determine who sees their posts. With this new tool, Facebook users now have greater control over the conversations that take place around their content.
The update also aims to promote transparency on how the Facebook algorithm selects the content it shows on your Feed. Starting today, any posts recommended by the Facebook algorithm will include a “Why am I seeing this?” link detailing the information the algorithm uses in selecting posts that you will like.
In a blog post, VP of Global Affairs for Facebook Clegg suggests that lawmakers should take more responsibility for the state of digital content today: “It would be clearly better if these… decisions were made according to frameworks agreed by democratically accountable lawmakers.” Clegg restates the value that contextual content algorithms provide to users, naming Amazon and Netflix as two popular digital services that use the technology.
The social media platform continues to deny accusations that their contextual content algorithms have pushed Facebook users toward extreme content. Facebook believes that it’s not their algorithms that direct users to extreme content; rather, the users are actively seeking out such content.