How would it feel if you had to see a cringe-worthy video of a doctor pulling out ear wax every time you logged in Facebook? Every time. Imagine my pain and frustration when this video was stuck at the top of my News Feed. It refused to go away no matter what I did.
Digging a bit deeper, I understood this is all about how Facebook News Feed algorithm works. Facebook rolls down a new algorithm every day in its constant endeavour to provide the most optimised News Feed content to the users.
Here is a list of new features brought forth by Facebook to help you control your News Feed content. You don’t have to torture your brain with videos or contents anymore. I can bet that these features will open an entirely fresh & meaningful News Feed on your Facebook account.
1. Why Am I Seeing This Post?
Facebook introduced this feature in April to clear the air about why certain posts appear at the top of the News Feed. As per Ramya Sethuram, a project manager of Facebook, “Why I am seeing this post?” will help you understand and control what you see from Pages, Friends and Groups. Sethuram also added that this feature is an expansion of an already existing “Why am I seeing this ad?” feature.
You can click on the drop-down menu located in the right-hand corner of any post in your News Feed to know why are seeing a particular ad. The reasons include:
- You are friends with the person who has shared the post.
- The post has a huge number of likes and comments from your friends.
- You have liked similar posts in the past.
You will also see options to let Facebook know whether you would like to see such posts in the future or not. You can unfollow a person, group/page, edit News Preference or manage Privacy Settings to stop seeing the posts again.
Now I know which one of my colleagues shared the annoying video that ruined both my News Feed and my mood.
2. Hide Posts
Despite ‘following’ several pages that discuss innovative science assignments, I end up seeing posts about the Kardashians in my News Feed. Let me know if you too faced similar issues on Facebook. One essential method to see more relevant posts in your News Feed is to interact with the posts. Try commenting or sharing it with your friends to help Facebook know that you are interested in these types of posts.
If you don’t want to see certain posts anymore in your News Feed, tap on the down arrow at the right-hand side of your post. You will find an option that says ‘Hide Post’. Just click on it and Facebook will no longer show you similar stories in the future.
You can even hide all Facebook wall posts from certain people through the following steps:
- Click on ‘Account’ located in the top right corner of your profile picture.
- Select Privacy Settings.
- Click on ‘Custom’ followed by ‘Control your default privacy.’
- Type the name of the people you want to hide your posts from.
- Click on ‘Save Changes’
You don’t have to see posts that you don’t like. Also, you don’t have to share your posts with people you don’t like. I hid the post about Kardashians and you know how.
3. Which Pages Are Important To You?
Initially, I got updates from pages that I might have followed years ago and they didn’t entertain me anymore. I remember seeing posts from a page that solely talked about love and break-ups. I have to admit that the posts got really boring after a while. Now, you can decide which pages you want to see in your News Feed. Let Facebook know about the pages that are important to you and it will optimise your News Feed accordingly.
The steps to see contents from important pages are:
- Tap on the inverted triangle situated at the top right of your Facebook interface.
- Click on ‘News Feed Preferences’ from the list.
- Choose ‘Unfollow people to hide their posts’
- Select ‘Pages only’ from the drop-down menu.
Now you can decide which Pages you want regular updates from and unfollow the rest. This feature has made my News Feed a source of valuable updates rather than meaningless noise to sift through. It makes the News Feed seem more like a search engine with plenty of information about everything that’s going around.
4. Set Your Priorities
Did you know that you can decide who you want to see first in the News Feed of Facebook? Do you want to stay abreast of your best friend’s posts on Facebook? Edit your preferences and you will be the first one to be notified if your best friend uploads something. Here’s how you can make this happen.
- Click on the three dots or horizontal lines in the News Feed
- Choose ‘Edit Preferences’.
- Select ‘Prioritise who to see first.’
Now you can choose up to 30 friends and Pages that interest you the most. Your News Feed will consist of the latest posts from people and Pages you find interesting. Thank God! I can finally say “good riddance” to creepy videos and so can you.
But, what about the pages that you don’t follow and yet want to stay updated with their posts? In that case, follow these steps.
- Visit the same settings page, click on ‘Discover Pages that match your interest.’
- You will find a list of Public Pages. Hit the Like button for the page you find interesting.
Facebook will integrate that source in to your News Feed. If you want specific news outlets to appear at the top of your News Feed, type its name in the search bar and hit Enter. Click on ‘Follow’ in the outlet’s page and choose ‘See First’. Now you will only find the information you want in your News Feed. Fair enough?
5. Manage your Facebook ads
I have heard people complaining that they do not see ads relevant to their interests. The Facebook ad preferences page lets you edit the list of interests that Facebook has assumed you have. You can stop the blame game because Facebook lets you manage your ad preferences pretty well. You have the freedom to remove irrelevant feed from the list to see nothing but relevant ads.
At times, you may get updates regarding political rants, the latest celebrity gossips and ads from items you would never consider purchasing. Other times, Facebook shows you exactly what you want to see. The secret is to keep yourself abreast of the changes Facebook brings forth to optimise your News Feed. Once you get a solid grip on Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, you can use them to your advantage.
Ellis Stevens is a part-time assistant professor at a reputed University in the US and a full-time tech enthusiast. She also provides computer science CPM homework help to students from all over the World.