Facebook is finally making it easier to bypass the algorithm and just see what your friends and family have posted most recently, with a new Feed Filter Bar arriving alongside new curation tools for news. The feature – which will appear at the top of your Facebook News Feed – will also be the home to Favorites, the recently-added VIP grouping option which allows posts by up to 30 friends and pages to get pushed to the top of the app.
Algorithmic sorting has been one of the key methods by which social networks such as Facebook try to make their apps stickier and more addictive. By attempting to learn what sort of posts – as well as which people and companies – individual users are most interested in, the promise is that they’ll be served up with more content like that whenever they check the app.
At the same time, though, there’s been no shortage of pushback about the systems. It’s not only Facebook seeing it, either, with Instagram and Twitter both accused of hiding content behind the claim of algorithmic filtering. Many offer an option to sort by date, but that change can often not be persistent, and will reset periodically.
The new Facebook Feed Filter Bar, however, promises to be a more straightforward way to switch to the Most Recent option. That will show posts chronologically, from anybody you’re friends with or from pages you follow. Initially it’ll be offered on Android – you’ll see the Feed Filter Bar when you scroll up on the News Feed – with it coming to iOS and in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Facebook is also adding new tools to control who can interact with posts. As well as adjusting visibility settings – so that, for instance, only close friends can see something you post to your wall – you’ll now be able to change who can comment on your post. That will allow for public comments, friends-only, or only the profiles and pages that you specifically mention.
Finally there are changes which help pull back the curtain on just why certain things arrive in your News Feed when you leave the algorithm to make the choices. A new “Why am I seeing this?” section will show the reasons for posts from friends, Pages, and Groups, with extra background context. That could be due to related engagement or topics, Facebook suggests, or simply because it’s related to your location and what other people near you are interacting with.