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Facebook Tweaks Its News Feed

Just Another Brick In The Wall

Facebook’s news feed is the most important part of one of the key sites on the internet. Almost everyone who has ever owned a computer is able to at least recognise it (particularly as so many other websites have emulated it in so many ways), and most of these people regularly access their own walls and news feeds via their personal Facebook accounts. It's the private little plot of land in which only content people actually care about filters through to them.

At least, that’s how our news feeds work in theory.
But the company seems to have spent the last few years tarnishing them. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but it cannot be argued that some of the recent Facebook updates have transformed people's precious, personal spaces into little more than spam. Nowadays, we can't go two scrolls of a mouse wheel without coming across an inexplicably viral photograph or an auto-playing video of the latest Vine celebrity sneezing - or whatever it is they do that people actually find entertaining. 

Our feeds have become yet another spam-hole, and instead of seeing pictures of our smiling, happy family members, we're becoming inundated with whatever Facebook and its army of sponsors want us to see. 
But, amidst even more reports of various Facebook updates with questionable morals, good news is beginning to filter through. Following the announcement that the company has begun officially supporting the Tor Web Browser in an effort to help those in countries with regulated internet, Facebook have now released a small update to their news feeds which will have positive effects a little closer to home.

Yesterday, they gave some power back

While we have always been able to block a page or person from appearing on our feeds, we will now be given more control. The change occurs after we remove an individual post from our home page. After choosing to unfollow, we will be asked whether we would prefer to never see posts from this individual/company again or whether we'd rather just see fewer of their posts. This information is then stored, and users can look back on whose posts they have completely blocked and who they have merely chosen to see less of. It is even possible to alter whose posts are most likely to appear on your news feed. 
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Facebook product manager Greg Marra said, "We’ve been thinking a lot about how we can better get at the qualitative aspects about what you love about your News Feed. That’s fallen out in a few ways — one is a lot of talking to people and surveying what you actually like versus seeing how you interact with News Feed. We’re doing more and more of that to understand what are the great experiences and what are the not-great experiences, and how do we help shift the not-great experiences to the great experiences."

It’s a minor change, and a relatively small offering when considering what they have altered that negatively impacts their users. But at least it's something. And with Facebook as powerful as it is, we pretty much have to take what we can get.


Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

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Facebook Tweaks Its News Feed Reviewed by Emile Cole on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 Rating: 5
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