Facebook will ask users about ‘negative experiences’ in News Feed

The surveys will aid Facebook's efforts to reduce political content in News Feed.

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Karissa Bell
April 22nd, 2021
In this photo illustration Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone screen in Athens, Greece on April 13, 2021 (Photo Illustration by Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook is still trying to figure out how to fix News Feed, and it plans to start asking users about the type of content they want to see. Over the next few months, the company will begin surveying users about the content in their News Feeds, including whether too much political content is contributing “negative experiences.”

“Increasingly, we’re hearing feedback from people that they’re seeing too much content about politics and too many other kinds of posts and comments that detract from their News Feed experience,” Facebook writes in a blog post. “We’ll work to better understand what kinds of content are linked with these negative experiences.”

The company will also survey users on whether they find content “inspirational” and poll users about their interest in certain topics, like cooking, sports and politics. The goal, Facebook says, is to help users customize their News Feeds to their interests. But on a larger level, it’s also meant to address criticism that the algorithms that govern News Feed are making people feel bad or contributing to polarization.

Facebook is making it easier to hide posts from News feed.
Facebook

At the same time, Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants to reduce the amount of political content in News Feed overall. “People don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience,” Zuckerberg said in January. Separately, Facebook has already been testing ways to weed out political posts from News Feed.

In addition to the surveys, Facebook will test another tool to help users have more control of what they see with a new “x” button that will hide a post in News Feed. The service already allows users to hide posts, but the option is buried under the “...” menu, so many people may not know it exists.

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