Facebook adds feature explaining prioritized news feed posts

Facebook this month will launch a feature that explains how and why posts are prioritized in its news feed, offering users more control over what content shows up when they log onto the social media platform.

The company for years has declined to answer questions about which posts end up on a user's news feed, but the new "Why am I seeing this post?" feature will provide details about how Facebook's algorithm pushes certain posts to the top.

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"You'll be able to tap on posts and ads in News Feed, get context on why they’re appearing, and take action to further personalize what you see," Facebook product manager Ramya Sethuraman wrote in a blog post Sunday.

Users will be able to click a drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of posts to find out why those items are in their news feed. The details may include information about the amount of times the user has previously interacted with the post's author or the type of posts the user typically interacts with.

The feature will give users the option to change which posts they see first, which groups and pages they follow and what ends up in their news feed overall. 

"During our research on 'Why am I seeing this post?', people told us that transparency into News Feed algorithms wasn’t enough without corresponding controls," Sethuraman wrote. "People wanted to be able to take action, so we’ve made it easy to manage what you see in News Feed right from this feature."

Users for years have raised questions about how Facebook makes decisions about its news feed, arguing the company promotes misinformation and ideologically divisive content because that material receives the most engagement.

Facebook is launching the new feature as it faces intensifying scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators over its policies regarding disinformation and hate speech. 

In the same blog post, Facebook said it is updating its "Why am I seeing this ad?" feature, which was launched four years ago to provide users with more information on how advertisers target them. Facebook will now provide users with details about how advertisers use information like their email address or phone number to target them for ads.

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergOn The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Russian, Iranian accounts trying to interfere in 2020 | Zuckerberg on public relations blitz | Uncertainty over Huawei ban one month out Facebook to label content from state-run media MORE last month announced it will become a "privacy-oriented" platform, moving from a focus on Facebook's public-facing news feed to its private messaging services.