Social media moderation in lockdown: Facebook lets users control algorithms –– to some extent | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 09, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:26 AM, April 09, 2021

Social media moderation in lockdown: Facebook lets users control algorithms –– to some extent

Facebook has launched some new in-app controls to give people some control over its algorithms. 2020 was all about how to moderate the consumption of the never-ending news feed. Considering this, Facebook Inc. announced a new bar that will appear on top of the newsfeed. This will allow users to toggle between the algorithmic, Facebook-curated feed and the full feed arranged in reverse chronological order.

Nick Clegg, the company's Vice President of Global Affairs and Communication, said that Facebook is trying to give their users better control of their relationship with their feeds.

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How it works and to what extent:

Users will get a choice of three feeds ––

The Home feed, with a stream of fully algorithmic content that Facebook 'thinks' users want to see

The Recent feed, a listing of the posts from the people users, follow in a reverse chronological order

The Favourites feed, which will show posts from up to 30 friends and pages marked as 'favourites'

While these features were present before but weren't as accessible as now, the new bar will act as a substantial improvement. But Facebook won't be giving its users the freedom to stick to their feed of choice. It will go back to the 'Home feed' when you close the app and reopen it.

In addition to user controls, Facebook has also decided on providing some algorithmic transparency. Why we see things that we see and why things are recommended to us –– is what they will be debunking gradually. To start with, it has already added a "Why am I seeing this?" button in the right corner of suggested posts. It is visible in ads as well.

Will that be all?

In an interview with Wall Street Journal about how Facebook plans to moderate the spread of misinformation and problematic content in the coming days, Nick Clegg says that Facebook will be taking further steps this year to mitigate those issues. It will give its users better clarity about the content they will be seeing over the next year –– by publishing more about the signals that guide users to access relevant information.

This feature will be available to Android users from Wednesday. iOS users will be able to have this update "in the coming weeks", said Facebook.

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