More than a billion people communicate through the Facebook news feed and look at it daily. It’s the second-most-popular website in the world and most-used app in the US. Users actually spend nearly as much time on Facebook as they do socializing with people face-to-face, which is pretty sad for society, but also very impressive for Facebook. The News Feed is the main reason for Facebook’s success, and it brings another improvement this month!
Time Magazine recently published an article covering the ever changing and confusing Facebook newsfeed and how this feature turned into one of the most influential products online. In it, they discussed how the News Feed is fueled by automated software that tracks your actions to give you posts you are most likely to engage with. The problem is that this leads users feeling exposed because of how much Facebook knows. In this day and age, people have to realize that if you are on Facebook, what you are posting is not private since it’s online—Facebook is tracking this data and using it to tailor content to you!
With a new curation tool launching this month, called “See First”, the goal isn’t just to guess what users click on when bored, but to find out what users care about. The tool will let you choose which of your friends you want to see at the top of your feed, rather than having the tool choose for you. The goal is for the Facebook to understand what is meaningful to users, rather than what is just liked or clicked on the most.
There are obviously many issues with the algorithm of understanding users. Sociologists in the article say that users sometimes make actions that are different than how they feel. For example, someone may like a friend’s engagement photo out of a courtesy, but it doesn’t mean it’s something they really wanted to see. This new update will help users control which friends and Pages appear in a user’s feed most often. A user can unfollow someone without un-friending.
The “See First” feature gives users the empowerment to place up to 30 friends’ and Pages’ posts at the top of their feeds whenever they appear. A streamlined menu will help users easily access all these features at once.
An important question is whether or not this new feature will hurt company pages even more. “See First” allows users to like companies, but if they unfollow they will never see or engage with their content. Most likely people will choose to see their friends first, over brand pages they have liked.
Also, if you do choose a brand, Facebook won’t show you ads because of this, which should be a big relief to many users. In sum, if you choose to see posts from Coca Cola at the top of your feed, an advertiser won’t show you an ad because of that decision.
"See First" first debuted last week and you can see it in your Preferences section of the Facebook app as part of an app update on iOS. The update will come to Android and the Web later soon.
What are your thoughts on “See First”? Share with us on Facebook or tweet @SeafoamMedia!