Facebook Introduces “Why Am I Seeing This?” Showing How News Feed Algorithm Ranking Works

Facebook has launched a new feature to explain how it decides what to display to users in the News Feed.

This will cover all posts in the News Feed. The feature has been rolling out in the UK, but will have rolled out fully by May 2nd.

Facebook users will see “why am I seeing this post?” in the drop down menu at the top of every post that appears in the news feed.

Facebook will then give a reason as to why you are seeing the post.

This could be down to many things, such as the kind of content you like, engage with on a regular basis, or otherwise.

This gives everyone who uses Facebook more insight into how your past post engagements impact how posts are ranked in your News Feed.

Facebook puts it this way:

News Feed is always personalized to you — and starting today you’ll have even more information and control over your experience.
We’re introducing “Why am I seeing this post?” to help you better understand and more easily control what you see from friends, Pages and Groups in your News Feed. This is the first time that we’ve built information on how ranking works directly into the app.
We’re also making improvements to “Why am I seeing this ad?” a tool we launched back in 2014. We’ve received valuable feedback over the years that has helped us expand the information we share with people about the ads they see.
This means you’ll be able to tap on posts and ads in News Feed, get context on why they’re appearing, and take action to further personalize what you see.

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/03/why-am-i-seeing-this/

How does it work?

When you see a post you are not sure you should be seeing, click the drop-down menu in the right-hand corner.

Facebook will then display:

  • Why the post is displayed in the news feed
  • The factors which had the greatest impact on the ranking of the post
  • Control shortcuts

Why would a certain post be displayed in the feed?
This could include if a friend has posted this, you are part of a group, or a page you follow

What post ranking factors are there?
This includes how often you interact with posts from specific pages or people, how often you engage with types of content such as images or video, and how popular posts are shared by the people and pages you follow.

What controls do I have access to?
This allows you to choose to unfollow certain things, see these posts first, change news feed preferences and more.

Facebook continues:

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.
People’s feedback also helped us determine what specific information would be most valuable to highlight. For example, we’ve included examples of people’s interactions that contribute to each of the three signal categories we show in the feature. Over time, we’ll continue to get feedback on “Why am I seeing this post?” and make improvements.

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/03/why-am-i-seeing-this/

Why does this matter?

Facebook’s public image has taken quite a hit in the past few years.

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other rumours swirling regarding how Facebook is used to make Brexit happen, get Trump elected (via Russia) means that people do not trust the platform and people have left in droves.

So Facebook needs to win people back. And the News Feed has long been far from how it began.

It used to be a place you would see posts and photos from friends hanging out.

But nowadays it is all news articles, shared content from people you barely know, and an array of content you’re not even sure why you’re seeing.

Which is why Facebook is now going to explain why you see the content you see.

Facebook Ad Targeting

Facebook is also expanding the “why am I seeing this ad?” option that has been on all ads since back in 2014.

Facebook will now allow people to know if you match the database of an advertiser.

Prior to this, you could see demographic details, website visits and interests and how this relates to the ad.

However, now it will show when an advertiser uploaded information or if the business advertiser has worked with a partner in order to run the ad in question.