Facebook tests new ways to give users more control of the News Feed

Our Bureau | | | Updated on: Nov 19, 2021
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People can now increase or reduce the amount of content they see from the friends, family, groups and pages they’re connected to

Facebook is testing new ways to give users and brands more control in News Feed, its parent company Meta has announced.

"We’re introducing a number of controls designed to give people and businesses the ability to tailor their News Feed experience. We are also announcing plans to collaborate with third-party partners to develop a brand suitability verification tool for News Feed," it said in a blog post.

The platform is testing new ways for users to customise their News Feed by making it easier to find and use News Feed controls to adjust people’s ranking preferences.

As part of this test, people can now increase or reduce the amount of content they see from the friends, family, Groups and Pages they’re connected to and the topics they care about in their News Feed Preferences.

"We’re also making existing controls easier to access, including Favorites, Snooze, Unfollow and Reconnect," it said.

It will begin testing in countries around the world to a small percentage of users, gradually expanding in the coming weeks.

"This is part of our ongoing work to give people more control over News Feed, so they see more of what they want and less of what they don’t. We’ll continue to share our progress as we test and learn," it said.

Topic Exclusion controls

It is also expanding News Feed controls for businesses with the Topic Exclusion controls. The test will be carried out with a limited number of advertisers that run ads in English.

The advertiser topic exclusion control allows an advertiser to select a topic that will help define how an ad will be shown on Facebook, including the News Feed.

Advertisers can pick three topics to exclude- News and Politics, Social Issues, and Crime & Tragedy.

When an advertiser chooses one or more topics, their ad will not be delivered to users recently engaging with those topics in their News Feed.

The company said that in its early testing with advertisers, it found that advertisers who excluded the News and Politics categories were able to avoid News and Political adjacency 94 per cent of the time.

Those who excluded the Tragedy and Conflict categories were able to avoid Tragedy and Conflict adjacency 99 per cent of the time while those who excluded the Debated Social Issues categories were able to avoid Debated Social Issues adjacency 95 per cent of the time.

"People using our apps can manage the ways advertisers are able to reach them in Ads Preferences. This includes whether or not they are included in the three topics for Topic Exclusion controls for News Feed," it said.

"From our conversations with the industry, we know that this solution may not solve the needs of every advertiser and that some advertisers are looking for content-level granularity. We see this product as a bridge between what we can offer today and where we hope to go — content-based controls," it further added.

The platform will also begin exploring and testing a new content-based suitability control soon. This test is aimed at addressing concerns advertisers have of their ads appearing in Facebook and Instagram feeds next to certain topics based on their brand suitability preferences.

"We aim to design our exploration in line with the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) Suitability Framework. We expect to kick off in 2022 and provide updates along the way starting in Q1," it said.

Before the end of 2021, it is also planning to collaborate with third-party brand safety partners to develop a solution to verify whether content adjacent to an ad in News Feed aligns with a brand’s suitability preferences.

"We'll start with a request for proposals in the coming weeks. We will share our progress working with the industry on these initiatives as they develop," it said.

Published on November 20, 2021

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