One of the ways Facebook is working to regain user trust lost amid privacy scandals involves a new effort to provide better transparency as to how its News Feed algorithms work.

As formally announced last Sunday, the mobile Facebook app now sports a brand-new feature that makes it a cinch to see important information about the criteria that has lead the company’s algorithms to pick a specific post and display it in your News Feed.

We’re introducing ‘Why am I seeing this post?’ to help you better understand and more easily control what you see from friends, pages and groups in your News Feed. This is the first time that we’ve built information on how ranking works directly into the app.

To see how it works, watch the video embedded below.

Found in the drop-down menu in a post’s right-hand corner, it lets you see the following:

  • Why you’re seeing a certain post in the News Feed. For example, if the post is from a friend you made, a group you joined or a page you followed.
  • What information generally has the largest influence over the order of posts, including: (a) how often you interact with posts from people, pages or groups; (b) how often you interact with a specific type of post, for example, videos, photos or links; and (c) the popularity of the posts shared by the people, pages and groups you follow.
  • Shortcuts to controls, such as See First, Unfollow, News Feed Preferences and Privacy Shortcuts, to help you personalize the News Feed.

For more information, visit Facebook’s Help Center.

The new controls bring greater transparency to Facebook’s News Feed algorithms

The order of posts in your News Feed is determined by:

  • How often you interact with posts from friends, groups or pages. Content from friends and family is prioritized over posts from groups and pages.
  • If the type of post is something you often interact with, like photo, video or link.
  • The number of comments, likes, reactions and shares a post receives from the people and pages that see it.
  • How recently something was posted.

Other factors have a smaller influence on what you see in the News Feed, like the speed of your Internet connection or what kind of phone you’re using. Facebook has acknowledged that local news, breaking news and news from sources you trust are prioritized in the News Feed.

They’re making these changes as their research showed what we’ve known all along, that transparency into the News Feed algorithm was lacking without corresponding controls.

People’s feedback also helped us determine what specific information would be most valuable to highlight. For example, we’ve included examples of people’s interactions that contribute to each of the three signal categories we show in the feature. Over time, we’ll continue to get feedback on ‘Why am I seeing this post?’ and make improvements.

Facebook’s also improved the “Why am I seeing this ad?” feature launched in 2014 with better context and features designed to permit users to further personalize what they see.

The enhanced “Why am I seeing this ad?” feature

This is how businesses can advertise to their audience on the platform:

Businesses can reach their customers by uploading information they already have, such as emails or phone numbers. We then try to match the ad to the most relevant audience without revealing any identifiable information back to the business.

‘Why am I seeing this ad?’ will now provide details such as when the advertiser uploaded the information or if the advertiser worked with another marketing partner to run the ad.

The aforementioned changes are adjustments began rolling out at the start of this week. It’s a staggered release so try again in a few days if you don’t see the new “Why am I seeing this?” feature. The company expects the changes to be available to all users by the middle of May.

What do you think about these improvements?

You’re welcome to post your thoughts in the commenting section down below.