Facebook finally explains how it organizes your news feed

Facebook launched a new feature this week that helps explain why you see certain posts in your news feed

The social network has announced it is to start offering users a "why am I seeing this post?" tab, which they can click on to see how Facebook's algorithms decided it was a relevant post.

Facebook calls it the News Feed and like any other news format, it prioritizes some posts more than others and includes ads. In effect, Facebook is going to help you understand how it ranks posts that show up on your News Feed.

John Hegeman, the head of Facebook's news feed, acknowledged the changes were a small step rather than a finished offering.

Facebook hopes the explanation will allow users to more easily understand why they may be shown posts they don't want to see, and to take action to hide or mute them if they wish.

Additionally, the menu will contain shortcuts to controls where users can unfollow the poster or make sure they see their content first, as well as being able to adjust other News Feed and Privacy Preferences.

Other social giants like Twitter and YouTube have been criticised for recommending content without explaining why they are appearing to users. For example, you might be part of the specific group that posted it, or it might be through a friend you made. In a blog post outlining the changes, Facebook explained that this was the first time "we've built information on how ranking works directly into the app".

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The button will be found in the drop-down menu that appears at the top right of every post in the News Feed.

Facebook's new tool - why am I seeing this post?

It will detail some of the interactions that lead the algorithm to reach its conclusion, he said, although it will not show all of the thousands of inputs that influence the decision.

A similar set of explanations will also be offered for adverts on Facebook, as well as more information than was previously shared about the advertiser's "custom audiences", a little-known Facebook feature that lets businesses upload customer lists (including names, email addresses or phone numbers) to the site in order to advertise to people they've contacted elsewhere.

This new feature is named "Why am I seeing this post?" and it will slowly become available to all users within the next days.

Facebook's "Why am I seeing this ad?" is also being updated.

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