On Thursday, Facebook announced it wants you to see the information you really want you see, as the online social network service publicized a new change to its News Feed. New tools can now assist you in sorting through the unfavorable, boring, unwanted information, typically from long-forgotten colleagues and acquaintances, and now, will let you choose a few dozen friends and pages to prioritize what will appear at the top of their News Feed, each time you log on.
It may seem like a effortless update, until you realize how much force Facebook’s News Feed algorithm holds over what we see. According to an article by Shareaholic , in 2014, “Facebook was responsible for about a quarter of all traffic, across the web.” When people are reading news from a website, almost one-fourth of the time, they found their news through Facebook.com. With more information than most people want to see (selfies, pictures of last night’s dinner, status updates, etc.) Facebook has become an influential source for news and information. According to Pew Research Center nearly half of Americans with Internet access use Facebook to read news and information about social issues including government and politics. The News Feed in Facebook is the “central hub” of the referral service, a hub that is quickly becoming the way most Americans get their information.
If you want to choose the friends and pages you want to see on your news feed first each time you log on, go to your chosen friend’s profile, and click on the box that says ‘following’ and select ‘see first’. Facebook’s computer software uses a wide range of information you provide to decide what to show. This will encompass what friends you interact with and how often, or what your preferences are, including photos, videos and more. On Thursday afternoon, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the News Feed update on his personal page. “Our goal is to help you connect with the people and things you care about the most,” he stated. Facebook recognized that this system isn’t totally foolproof, so it wants to give users a chance to set their own preferences.
As well as selecting who or what pages you want to see first, you’ll still be able to ‘unfollow’ friends so you won’t have to see them at all. This preference has been offered to people before, who do not want to take the awkward step of ‘unfriending’ someone, but would rather not read about what’s going on in their lives.
This update doesn’t address the problems with the Facebook algorithm, but, for the first time, it makes some of the feed translucent, giving users some accountability over what they choose to read. For now, prioritize and favorite what’s important you!