Facebook is letting some people choose the frequency of posts on News Feed and letting brands choose posts they don’t want to appear next to.
Facebook is introducing more ways for people to control what appears on News Feed and for brands to express some level of contextual preference regarding how they want their ads to be shown.
Last week, Facebook announced it is testing a new News Feed algorithm change with a small percentage of users, who will be able to adjust the frequency with which they see posts from specific friends, brands, pages, and groups.
According to the post introducing the test, this was “part of our ongoing work to give people more control over News Feed, so they see more of what they want and less of what they don’t.”
The change, and the way it prioritizes what users are shown, is only the latest of a long line of tweaks the company has tested over the years.
In 2015, Facebook began favoring content from close friends more than that coming from brands, marking the beginning of the decline in organic reach for Pages. The following year, it further adjusted the algorithm so that the News Feed would further prioritize posts from friends over those of publishers.
In 2018, the company said it would start giving way to engagement-sparking posts more than passive content. And in 2020, the platform gave way for more trustworthy and quality news sources to appear on News Feed.
In addition to allowing more user control over what people see on their Facebook News Feed, the announcement introduces some tweaks for brands to decide what context their posts will be shown in on people’s News Feeds.
A test group of business customers advertising in English on the platform is now able to access some “topic exclusion” controls, allowing them to select any of three topic groups they wouldn’t want to have their ads shown next to.
These three topics – namely news and politics, social issues, and crime and tragedy – are types of posts that this testing group of advertisers can now choose not to have their ads appear next to, if they so prefer, allowing them a never-seen-before type of control on the user experience around their ads.
Although the company has never fully disclosed the algorithm behind what users see more or less of (or even none of) on their News Feeds, in September this year, Facebook released a report letting the public as to how it decides what content gets demoted, declaring that clickbait, fake news, and posts from repeated offenders of its guidance and rules get the ax from being shown on News Feed.