The way Facebook’s News Feed works has always been a mystery. Why is a cringeworthy video clip your coworker shared weeks ago still stuck to the top of your News Feed? Why does an innocuous question about overnight oats refuse to go away?
BuzzFeed News' intrepid reporters have tried to crack these questions for years. On Sunday, Facebook announced that it would finally answer them.
In a blog post, Ramya Sethuraman, a product manger at Facebook, announced that the company is launching a “Why am I seeing this post?” feature to let you understand and control why a post is showing up in your Facebook News Feed. “This is first time that we’ve built information on how ranking works directly into the app,” Sethuraman wrote.
The new feature starts rolling out this week and will be available all users by the middle of May, according to a Facebook spokesperson.
Once you get it, you can tap on the drop-down menu in the right-hand corner of any post in your News Feed to understand why you’re seeing it. The reasons range from the obvious (you’re friends with the person who shared the post) to the not-so-obvious (you’ve commented more on posts with photos compared to ones that don’t have photos).
Facebook is also making it easier for you to decide what kind of posts you want showing up in your News Feed based on this information. It’s adding shortcuts to controls such as “See First” and “Unfollow” among others.
Facebook already lets you see this information for ads that show up in your News Feed, but bringing it to all posts makes the world's largest social network just a little more transparent.