By Geoff Gillette
It’s easy to feel like large corporations don’t listen. Oftentimes, people will comment, complain or criticize about some piece of functionality with a company’s product and nothing ever gets done. Well, kudos to Facebook for making a move in the right direction and showing that, by golly, they really WERE listening when people complained.
In the past week, Facebook has made a fairly significant change that addresses an area of frustration among users.
As per usual…it’s all about the algorithm.
Introduced last week, the change affects what you will see in your newsfeed. Over the past few years, one of the chief complaints from users has been that Facebook continually tinkers with the algorithm that controls how the newsfeed is populated. And that it really doesn’t have a filtering application (I don’t count the ridiculously painful-to-use lists), and that users really don’t get a lot of control over how things get into their newsfeeds.
Ok, so they didn’t do anything about the filtering (sorry) but they did make it easier to unfollow people, pages and groups in your newsfeed. The place to start is in the top left corner of your Facebook page. Just under your name is your newsfeed. Click on the little gear icon and click "edit newsfeed".
Now once you’re there you will get a summary page that tells you who you’ve followed, and who you’ve unfollowed amongst friends, groups and pages. You can break it down to each individual category and take a look at who Facebook’s algorithm thinks should be in your newsfeed. You have the option to unfollow someone who’s appearing regularly in your feed, but by the same token, if you realized that you unfollowed someone (possibly during election season after one too many political posts) you can simply click a button and re-follow them easy as pie.
The other aspect of it, and frankly the easier of the two to use, is the ability to give nearly instant feedback when something you don’t want to see appears in your newsfeed. Click on the arrow to the right of the post and a drop-down menu appears. You can choose to completely unfollow the person or page. Or you can ask to see less from this person. The feedback is calculated into what items are used to populate your newsfeed and voila! You are seeing more of what YOU want to see and less of what Facebook THINKS you want to see.
The big question that remains, and was not answered in the brief blog announcement of the new feature, is how will this new functionality interact with promoted posts? Do promoted posts supersede the algorithm controlling what goes into a newsfeed? Or will having this increased functionality mean that the majority of followers of a page will see what that page posts consistently without having to resort to promoted posts?
Regardless of the unanswered questions, it needs to be said that this modification of Facebook’s newsfeed is a good one. It doesn’t clear up all the issues, but it shows that the social media giant is listening and making an effort. Which is a big step in the right direction.
How do you manage your newsfeed? Lists? Or unfollowing? And will this change help you?
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