Facebook is giving users more control over what they see in News Feed, the company announced Thursday. Over the coming weeks, the company will being allowing some users to tweak their preferences in News Feed to change the amount of content they see from different accounts, pages and groups, as well as the topics that appear in their News Feeds.
"Our Community Standards are in place to help keep the platform safe by defining what is and is not allowed in our community, but that doesn't mean everyone is interested in seeing or appearing next to the same content," Facebook's parent company Meta wrote in the release.
The company also said it will modify controls like Favorites, Snooze and Unfollow so they're "easier to access." These changes will be tested with a "small percentage of people" in different countries and slowly expanded in the next few weeks.
The move isn't a direct response to calls for a chronological feed (although you can set your feed that way manually), which lawmakers and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen have endorsed in recent weeks. But it is a step toward loosening Facebook's singular hold on what billions of people around the world see everyday.
These changes also shouldn't come as a surprise, even though its News Feed has come under fire for prioritizing harmful content; the platform has run tests like this for years. "This is part of our ongoing work to give people more control over News Feed, so they see more of what they want and less of what they don't," Meta wrote.
In addition to the changes to News Feed, Meta announced that it would allow advertisers to begin excluding certain topics from their ad campaigns. Those topics include "News and Politics, Social Issues and Crime & Tragedy," Meta said. Advertisers who select those topics won't have their ads shown to users who have recently interacted with those topics. "We see this product as a bridge between what we can offer today and where we hope to go — content-based controls," the company said, noting that it plans to begin exploring more granular controls for advertisers in 2022.