Do you feel like whenever you get used to a new feature on Facebook, they go and change it?
Well, they’ve done it again – but in this case, change is good. It’s called “See First” and it lets you gain more control over what you see in your News Feed.
Did you know that Facebook controls what you see in your News Feed?
According to Time.com, you’re far from being alone if you had no idea that Facebook has an algorithm that determines what you see and what you don’t on your News Feed. The algorithm is designed to show you stuff you’ll want to click on (or at least, what Facebook hopes you’ll ant to click on). That algorithm has changed over and over since News Feed launched in 2014.
Released on Thursday, See First is the latest change – and, you might say, the greatest, because it returns some control to we, the users.
Given Facebook’s newsfeed is the place where America has most of its its political discussions, according to newly released research results from the Pew, personal control seems like a big improvement over Facebook deciding to feed you a link to Donald Trump’s latest proclamation.
So, how does Facebook determine what we see?
Facebook uses automated software to fill your feed with posts that you are most likely to engage with, based on your actions elsewhere on the web and on Facebook itself. Some of the things that Facebook measures while you’re browsing and clicking:
- Photo clicks The more photos you click on, the more photos you’ll see in your feed. Not a photo lover? You’ll see fewer.
- Your nearest and dearest The “closer” you are to someone on Facebook, the more of their posts you’ll see in your feed. Facebook determines if you are close to someone by looking at how often you like their posts, write on their Timeline, click through their photos or talk with them on Messenger (Facebook’s chat service).
- What you like When you “like” one article from a person or page you follow, expect to see a lot more from them. That’s because the algorithm thinks you’ll click on another post from the same source.
- What everyone else likes The algorithm also assumes that you’re likely to click on stuff that has attracted a lot of engagement across Facebook.
- Your device The algorithm takes into account what device you use when you scroll Facebook. You’ll see less video for example, if you’re using a smartphone with a slow connection.
- Your attention span Facebook measures how long you spend reading each post link. The longer you spend, the more it assumes you “like” it, and the more it will show you from that source.
Of course, Facebook also shows you those “promoted posts” – content that companies and organizations have paid the network to scatter across News Feeds.
What exactly is See First?
A new curation tool, See First offers you the power to give your News Feed more of a human touch. Basically, it lets you choose which of your friends or the pages you follow will appear at the top of your feed – better than having the decision dictated by an algorithm.
“If you could rate everything that happened on Earth today that was published anywhere by any of your friends, any of your family, any news source…and then pick the 10 that were the most meaningful to know today, that would be a really cool service for us to build,” Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, told Time.com. “That is really what we aspire to have News Feed become.”
Ready? Exercise your Facebook freedom with our See First guide.
How To Control What You See In Your News Feed
On a Mobile Phone
1. Open the Facebook App and tap the “More” icon at the bottom
4. A screen showing all the profiles you follow will appear. Tap the people or pages whose posts you want to see at the top of your News Feed (once selected, a “See First” star will appear on their profile image). Remember, you can pick more than one.
On a Desktop
1. Click the down arrow on the top right of the Facebook navigation bar and select “News Feed preferences”
If you like what we post, don’t forget to select “See First” for Senior Planet!