The social network, for the first time, will allow users to control what they see on their wall chronologically, by likes or through algorithms.
Facebook is on a mission to convince and demonstrate to users that “there are no master puppeteers” behind the algorithm that feeds their accounts on the social network and for this, for the first time it is giving them control over how they want to view content that appears on your main wall: based on the recommendation algorithm or chronologically.
“I decided to write the essay to announce some of the new products that people will be able to filter their feeds with. Now, at the top of your feed for the first time, you can change your profile to operate with an algorithmic classification, a chronological classification or a new classification of favorites with which you can basically create your own feed and select what you will see on your wall ”Explains Sir Nicholas William Peter Clegg, vice president of Public Affairs at Facebook in an exclusive interview with Forbes Mexico.
The new functions are accompanied by an essay entitled “Two are needed for tango”, which Clegg is publishing and which is aimed at all doubts, questions, criticisms or content, such as documentaries or studies, that accuse social networks (already the companies behind them) to create algorithms that manipulate the truth, information and interests of millions of people at their convenience.
So starting today, Facebook users on iOS, Android and desktop will see four new options to manage the content they see on their wall or to learn more about them.
- Favorites – A feature that allows users to control and prioritize their friends’ posts and pages that matter most to them. The user can accept the recommendation given by the Facebook algorithm based on their tastes or preferences or select up to 30 friends and pages to include them in Favorites. So the content of these sources will be the ones they see the most on their profile.
- Newer: It is one of the most striking features because it allows users to change their Facebook wall so that it works chronologically and not algorithmically. That is, the posts they will see appear in order from the most recent to the oldest at the time of their consultation.
- News filter bar: a new option at the top of each profile that will allow users to quickly switch between the most recent section, the standard news section (that is, the Facebook that we all know) and the new section from Favorites.
- “Why am I seeing this?” Tab expansion: In addition to the advertising posts, now the Why am I seeing this? it can be seen in the posts of friends, pages and groups that users follow, as well as posts that Facebook suggests in the news section.
“The emphasis we are putting is to give users more controlled transparency. And we are going to make a series of announcements throughout the year. So we are going to be more transparent about content degradation, blocking or content that people see, which are some of our most common criticisms, and we want people to understand how we work, ”he says.
Clegg, who has spent almost the last 30 years of his life in politics and served as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2015, joined Facebook as Head of Public Affairs in 2018 to open the door to negotiations and talks. with governments around the world and under the argument of “legislators should have a serious conversation about whether data-intensive companies allow other companies to share and use data. “
The expert explains to Forbes Mexico that the objective of increasing the transparency of the social network to users is not that they fully understand how Facebook works. After all, he adds: “I have a car and an iPhone and I could tell you that deep down I don’t understand exactly how they work, but I know how to use them.”
Clegg’s reason for writing the essay and announcing the changes in the network and promoting more transparency is to eliminate something that many Facebook users have every time they use some of the firm’s services (Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp): fear. Fear of not knowing if your data is used to be sold to brands or fear that your privacy and personal life will be violated by third parties with malicious intent within the platform or by personnel of the same company who seek to manipulate or deceive them in exchange for spend hours in the social network.
“If you look at the social reactions to almost any technological innovation, medicine, communication, transportation, even the bicycle, the car, the radio or the email, each technological innovation leads to this pendulum in which at first it swings to one side where people think that it will be the salvation and solution to all our problems and then, as we get to know it, the pendulum changes side and we go from euphoria to pessimism, where we think that those same innovations are the cause of all our ills, “he says. Clegg.
This is what happened with social networks, says Facebook’s vice president of Public Affairs. “Years ago there were people saying that social networks would be the solution to our problems and now there are people who claim that they are the cause of them. The truth is that neither of the two is true and we have to understand that all technologies can be implemented for good or bad reasons. If you put a murderer behind the wheel of a car, one of the most liberating technologies ever invented, it will become a weapon. “
In a way, the changes that Facebook announces are how to give some control of that vehicle called social networks to users (at least from what we see).
“I think one of the things that really exacerbates and fosters fear is feeling like you are not in control, which is why the ads and my essay have so much emphasis on demonstrating, explaining, and introducing new measures to underscore that human beings ultimately, are the ones in charge of your social media experience. I believe that the more people feel that they are in control, the less susceptible they will be to fear or fall into false beliefs, ”he says.