Facebook reveals how it classifies items in the news feed


LONDON (Reuters) – Facebook is lifting the cover of the algorithm that decides which posts appear in its news feed as part of an effort to be more transparent and provide more control to users.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in front of the cables shown in this illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 13, 2015. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Archives Photo

The "Why am I seeing this post?" Feature, Launched on Monday, offers some tips on the tens of thousands of inputs used by the social network to rate stories, photos and videos in the news feed, platform basis . .

"The basics of this tool is to let people see why they're seeing a specific post in their news feed, and that helps them access the actions they might want to take if they want to change that," said Facebook news director, John. Hegeman told reporters on Monday.

After a series of privacy scandals, Facebook needs to regain user confidence as it prepares to launch a single messaging service combining messages from Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, which could make it even more central to users' communications.

The new news feed feature will show users the data that connects them to a particular type of post, Hegeman said, for example, that they're poster friends and that they liked their posts more than others, they often commented of posting before, or that posting is popular with users with the same interests.

He will detail some of the interactions that lead the algorithm to reach its conclusion, he said, although it does not show all the thousands of inputs that influence the decision.

"We try to focus on the signals that are most important and play the lead role in what makes people see a post or not," Hegeman said.

"We do not think this will solve everything on the subject of transparency, but we think this is an important step."

Facebook developed the new tool with research groups in New York, Denver, Paris and Berlin, he said, and as a result of feedback, Facebook made it easy for users to access tools to control what's in the news feed.

Facebook is also updating its "Why am I seeing this ad?" Feature, Launched a few years ago with additional details, said Hegeman, how to explain how ads work targeting customers using email lists.

The company shifted its strategy to its central news feed in early 2018 when it decided to prioritize posts from family and friends and demote non-advertising content from publishers and brands.

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