Facebook Explains Content Ranking Algorithm

Appearing in memes, status updates, and blog posts the same, people have wondered why they see some ads and not others. The question has been a common one even for other platforms (with people growing more curious and others a bit suspicious of content-ranking algorithms). Like Google, Facebook has started explaining to the public why they see some posts and some content types and not others when they search on the platform.

The first explanation was posted on the platform last week.

The company is looking to help users to know what is happening and to exercise more control over what they see from their friends, on groups, pages, and their News Feed. Google, on the other hand, wrote an explanation for serving some ads but RankBrain, the company’s search algorithm is still mysterious.

‘Our News Feed looks to show users the posts most relevant to them,’ wrote Facebook’s product manager, Ramya Sethuraman.

After internal audits, the company found out that, users prefer more transparency into why they see the kind of content that they do so the answers to the question are found in the drop-down menu on the platform in the right-hand side of any post. It explains how past interactions and searches will affect how posts rank the user News Feed.

If a post is from a group you are in, a page you follow, or a friend, you will be able to know why you see it. The write up also details the kind of information that will influence the sort of posts you see, including older photos, groups, pages, videos, and links. It also borrows a little from the posts people found most appealing based on their engagement. One will get access to shortcut controls.

Facebook also improved the ‘why am I seeing this ad’ tool, that was first launched in 2014. It is meant to allow users context on the reasons they see some ads and the factors, based on website visits, interactions, and demographics, which influence that content which they see. The user can take action to customize their content.

Businesses can reach customers by posting information that they have, like phone numbers and emails, according to Sethuraman. The platform will then try to match the ad with the relevant audiences without letting their private information out.

The ‘why am I seeing this ad’ tool also provides insight as to the time the advertiser uploaded your information, and whether or not they worked with a partner to run content.


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