Facebook has been getting a lot of grief over the past year. While Twitter and all of the news blogs were buzzing with Ferguson, all you could find on Facebook was the Ice bucket challenge. This led some to grouse about how the stories that received the most attention on Facebook were quizzes and puppy videos.
The social network responded by getting clickbait out of the news feed, and then rejiggering the news feed so it gave more emphasis to time sensitive posts. And today Facebook is taking a step to hand users more power over the content of their news feed.
Facebook has just rolled out a new tool which will make it easier for users to control just what they see in their News Feed. FB will show users which pages and people take up the most space each user’s News Feed, and then offer the option of seeing fewer posts from a source. Users will also be able to unfollow these sources without unfriending them. Facebook has long offered the option to unfollow without unfriending, but the new tool puts the feature front and center. Facebook will also offer users
Facebook product manager Greg Marra said that the change is part of a larger effort to make users’ feeds more relevant to what interests them. He told Mashable that about 1,500 different stories have the potential to appear in a user’s News Feed in a given day, but people only see about 150.
This new tool should give users a better idea of what the pages and people they follow are posting, and what Facebook isn’t showing them. Or at least that is the way it is supposed to work; I’ve been looking through Facebook for the past 20 minutes and I don’t see where this tool is hidden.
Based on what I have read so far, this new tool is really only a slight refinement on the existing follow/unfollow options which shows you volume data before letting you make a choice.
While this could give users a better idea of what they’re not seeing, one thing it won’t do is give them any real control over the News Feed. No matter what Facebook might claim, that will ultimately lie with Facebook.