Facebook reveals how the News Feed algorithm works

James Marshall
April 2, 2019

The company also wants people to understand why they're seeing the ads they see and to be able to take action from individual posts to personalize their feed even more. At any rate, Facebook product manager Ramya Sethuraman explains in a company blog post that Facebook has launched a new tool called "Why am I seeing this post?" that will for the first time show how post-ranking works in the app.

From there, you'll be able to view info at a glance on why you're seeing certain posts on your News Feed - e.g. because you're a member of X Group or Page on Facebook - as well as manage the content you'd like to see more or less of. With the new "Why am I seeing this post?" feature, the News Feed explains exactly why that post is displayed to you.

The new feature, which will roll out for users worldwide over the next month, lets people find out why the site is showing them particular posts by clicking on "Why am I seeing this?" in the contextual menu for each item.

The tool lists the multiple variables explaining how your past interactions on Facebook led to News Feed prioritizing to show you that post over others. For the vast majority of users who don't take the time to proactively "tune" their feed, it can often seem like a haphazard mishmash of forgettable photos, political rants, ads they don't care about and status updates from friends they haven't seen in years. For example, you might be part of the specific group that posted it, or it might be through a friend you made.

Now, its newest feature is focusing on transparency.


The "Why am I seeing this post?" button will be found in the drop-down menu that appears at the top right of every post in the News Feed. Second, it's not clear just how much Facebook users will now know about why posts appear and what the company knows about them even with this tool.

It also explains what information generally has the largest influence over the order of posts. How often you like a person's posts and how often you engage with different mediums like video, photo or text are some examples of information that contributes to a post's prominence.

It already revealed whether some of your online activity, such as the location where you connected to the internet, was being used to target ads at you.

Social media algorithms are notoriously mysterious.

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