What you need to know
- Facebook is testing allowing users to minimize the volume of unwanted posts in their news feed.
- For the time being, the test is only available to a small group of people before it is widely distributed.
- Brands are also gaining more power to distance their advertisements from certain topics.
Facebook is tweaking its news feed algorithm yet again. On Thursday, the social networking service announced that it is testing new controls that will let you reduce the appearance of unwanted content in your news feed and see more of what you want.
For the time being, the test is being rolled out to a small number of users, allowing participants to customize their news feed to see content from specific friends, groups, and pages they like more frequently. Similarly, they can opt to see less unwanted content in their news feed.
This isn't the first time Facebook has altered its news feed to prioritize specific content. Earlier this year, the service rolled out an update that was designed to give users more control over their news feed via the Feed Filter Bar, making it easier to access the "Favorites" and "Recent" filters.
Last year, Facebook also changed its news feed algorithm to show more content from publishers like The New York Times, CNN, and NPR and to show less content from sources that were deemed to be spreading false information, according to The New York Times.
In addition, Meta, which owns Facebook and some of the best messaging apps for Android, is making it easier to access existing controls including Favorites, Snooze, Unfollow and Reconnect as part of the experiment. The test will expand over the coming weeks.
Aside from individual users, business and brands will now have more control over the type of topics that their ads appear next to. This is part of an expansion of the Topic Exclusion controls, which are now available to a limited number of advertisers who run English-language ads.
The new controls allow advertisers to prevent their ads from appearing alongside topics including "News and Politics," "Crime and Tragedy" and "Debated Social Issues." So if they decide to distance their ads from controversial issues, for example, the ads won't be served to people interested in that topic.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.