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Facebook finally explains how it organizes your news feed - CNET

The "Why am I seeing this post?" feature details how the company's algorithm prioritizes certain posts on your feed.

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March 31, 2019 7:32 PM PDT

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Social media algorithms are notoriously mysterious. Facebook wants to change that.

The tech giant announced on Sunday via a blog a "Why am I seeing this post?" feature that explains why a post from a friend, group or page is popping up on your news feed. It's an expansion of sorts to 2014's "Why am I seeing this ad?", which served the same function but exclusively for ads.

"This is the first time that we've built information on how ranking works directly into the app," Facebook Product Manager Ramya Sethuraman said in the blog. "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."

Video: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: What's your relationship with them like?

Though it was announced a day prior to April 1, the new feature is not an April Fool's Joke, a Facebook spokesperson told CNET. It'll begin rolling out this week and be available to all Facebook users by mid-May, according to the spokesperson.

The function will show you what data led to a post being prioritized on your feed. 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.

Sethuraman said in the blog that you'll be able to let Facebook know what metrics you want to carry the most weight when deciding what shows up on your feed and where.

This move for more transparency comes soon after Mark Zuckerberg wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post explaining that Facebook may need regulations to help address its "massive responsibilities."

"Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech," Zuckerberg wrote, "and frankly I agree. I've come to believe that we shouldn't make so many important decisions about speech on our own."

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