Facebook's 'Why am I seeing this post?' feature to help you understand, control News Feed

The new feature will let you know why you are seeing certain posts and give you better control over your News Feed


Facebook wants to help you better understand why certain posts show up on your News Feed and why others don't. To that effect, it is introducing a new feature called, "Why am I seeing this post?"

We know that News Feed is personalised according to our activity on Facebook. But which posts show up, and more importantly, why they show up, has always been a sort of black box to which not many Facebook users have any answers to. The new feature will let you know why you are seeing certain posts and give you better control of what you see from your friends, Pages and Groups. In effect, Facebook is going to help you understand how it ranks posts that show up on your News Feed.

Facebooks Why am I seeing this post? feature to help you understand, control News Feed

A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France, June 20, 2018. Image: Reuters

In addition to posts, Facebook is also adding some improvements to its "Why am I seeing this ad?" feature, which was introduced in 2014.

According to the Facebook Newsroom post, a drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the post will give you the option to see why you are seeing that post. All you will now need to do is tap on it to get the context behind why certain posts appear. It will hopefully give you more control over how you then want to personalise your News Feed.

Facebook says that you will be able to see:

  • Why you’re seeing a certain post in your 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.
Facebook's new 'Why am I seeing this post?' feature hopes to give you better control over your News Feed. Image: Facebook

Facebook's new 'Why am I seeing this post?' feature hopes to give you better control over your News Feed. Image: Facebook

The idea behind this new feature according to Facebook is to give people more control over their News Feed. "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," said the post.

The same drop-down menu will also have links to personalisation such as See First, Unfollow, News Feed Preferences and Privacy Shortcuts.

The new additions to the "Why am I seeing this ad?" feature will let you know if the ad appeared, for instance, because of a company uploading your contact list or if a marketing partner was involved to place the ad.

"“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," said the post. Facebook has also claimed that advertisements will be matched to the relevant audience, without revealing any identifiable information about you back to the business.

'Why am I seeing this ad?' improvements. Image: Facebook

'Why am I seeing this ad?' improvements. Image: Facebook

All this comes at a time when Facebook is mired in one controversy after another. The most recent tragedy that unfolded on Facebook involved a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The perpetrator of the attack had streamed his act live on Facebook and YouTube. It is also looking to restrict its Live feature after the Christchurch massacre. Facebook also recently announced that it would be treating white nationalism and white separatism at par with white supremacy and redirect search results on these topics to an NGO called 'Life After Hate'.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also called for the regulation of social media in a detailed post and op-ed that was seen in the Washington Post. "From what I've learned, I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability," said Zuckerberg.