Facebook has added a new feature to the News Feed, where users will now see a ‘Why Am I Seeing This?’ tab attached to a post. The new feature, which has been rolled out recently, is an attempt to explain how post ranking and recommendation works on its platform. The social media giant has been facing a lot of flak recently for its dubious practices pertaining to personal usage data collection, and is seemingly attempting to make moves to appear more transparent in operation to users.
It is, however, important to note that News18 could not independently verify if the rollout has occurred globally. As of now, the option remains unavailable on both mobile and desktop versions for users in India. Reports across the internet state that to access this feature, users will need to tap on the more information button placed at the corner of a post, following which the ‘Why Am I Seeing This’ feature can be accessed by users. It is said to be eventually rolled out to all users, operating across all platforms.
The explanation of why a certain post may have appeared on your News Feed is three-pronged, and Facebook states that it is based on “how often you interact with posts from people, Pages or Groups; how often you interact with a specific type of post, for example, videos, photos or links; and the popularity of the posts shared by the people, pages and groups you follow.”
Alongside this, Facebook has also updated the existing ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’ feature to include more details, such as the demographics that may have affected the advertisement in turning up on your profile, exactly what data from a user’s browsing pattern was pulled up by the advertiser, when this information was uploaded, and the marketing partners involved in running this ad. The two moves from Facebook come at a time when the company continues to be badgered by plaguing privacy issues, multiple data collection scandals and allegations of aiding propaganda through unethical data collection and curation practices.
Recently, Facebook has been attempting to appear more transparent in terms of how its News Feed algorithms work, as well as providing an additional layer of information on websites that post content on the platform. For instance, posts now have the option to include an ‘About this website’ button, placed on the post itself, which reveals more about the content source. This is being done after Facebook became a significant target of criticism for not curtailing posts that spread fake news on the platform.