Facebook allows users non-algorithmic views of their News Feed: Is FB accepting its algorithms aren’t best at deciding the ‘best’ content?

Facebook News Feed
Let Facebook manage or time of post. Pic credit: Coffee Bean/Pixabay

Facebook seems to have relented and is starting to offer a simplified News Feed that’s not controlled by its endless chain of algorithms. The non-algorithmic view of News Feed is now available for Android smartphone users.

Social Media giant Facebook appears to have taken a U-turn about algorithms that have strongly dictated what users see in their News Feed. Additionally, the company is offering several more tools that could prevent random or targeted hate speech and comments.

Facebook allows simple News Feed in chronological order:

Facebook has always and rather strongly maintained that its Machine Learning Systems or algorithms knew what users wanted better than the users themselves. However, the social media giant has suddenly taken a completely different path.

Facebook has suddenly started allowing users to prioritize posts from select friends and Pages. The platform is now introducing a new “Feed Filter” menu.

The new menu option gives users quick access to its “Most Recent” setting. Activating the same basically allows users to switch off its algorithmically-ranked News Feed.

This is a significant change primarily because Facebook users will now have immediate access to posts from friends, Pages, and groups in chronological order. If that’s not encouraging enough, the new menu also offers additional News Feed controls including the Favorites setting.

This is a customization setting. It essentially pushes the content of chosen friends upward and enhances discoverability and visibility.

Incidentally, Facebook had offered a rather weak and hence ineffective “Most Recent” view of the News Feed. The platform had placed the setting in the extended “more” menu (the three-bar hamburger icon) on the Facebook mobile app.

The previous iteration wasn’t useful because it clubbed all the posts from both friends and Pages in a single chronological view. Needless to mention, with their high frequency, Facebook Pages for brands, businesses, and public figures dominated the News Feed.

The new ‘See First’ setting is a lot more visible and hence, accessible. The newer “Favorites” feature gives users a single destination under Settings to select and deselect Favorites, including favorite FB Pages.

Facebook also offering users the ability to restrict who posts or comments:

Facebook has also overhauled the ‘Commenting Controls’. It appears to be an extension of the usage patterns of several Facebook users who post only for a select audience comprising mostly of family or friends or excluding certain sections of contacts.

Moving ahead, Facebook users will have the option of determining who can engage in conversations. The facility is available on ‘Public’ posts as well.

Simply put, users can restrict comments to friends or profiles and tagged pages. The same is also available to public figures.

Needless to mention, this feature seems quite familiar to Twitter. The micro-blogging network offers the ability to limit replies to Tweets.

As part of the transparency drive, Facebook is also expanding its ‘Why am I seeing this?’ context feature for News Feed posts. Moving ahead, the tool should offer more information.

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