Tired of seeing random posts from advertisers on Facebook before you can even glimpse at your cousin's picture of her adorable new kitten? According to USA Today, Facebook is reprogramming its News Feed algorithm to show users more posts of their friends and families, rather than advertisements and other irrelevant articles.
The company published "News Feed Values," a document explaining why certain posts will now come before others. The gist of the change is pretty straightforward. The News Feed aims to accomplish two tasks: to inform and to entertain. That's why friends and family should come first, while authentic communication will always beat spam and advertisements. As always, liking a media company's page will help you to see their posts, but you can choose to hide or unfollow posts and Pages to avoid seeing certain information.
Facebook's updates are already in effect, Tech Crunch reports, so your News Feed should already show posts from friends and family higher up on the home page than posts from advertisers, celebrities, media publishers and news outlets.
"When we launched News Feed in 2006, it was hard to imagine the challenge we now face: far too much information for any one person to consume," Adam Mosseri, Facebook's Vice President of Product Management, said in a statement. "That’s why stories in News Feed are ranked—so that people can see what they care about first, and don’t miss important stuff from their friends. If the ranking is off, people don’t engage, and leave dissatisfied."
This change may be Facebook's response to recent allegations of anti-conservative bias within its "Trending" section. An anonymous contractor for the site claimed that Facebook staff would knowingly pick and choose headlines as "Trends" based on their own biases, often curating liberal-leaning topics while avoiding conservative ones. Facebook has denied these claims, but they probably hope that adding transparency to the News Feed will avoid more controversy.
Mosseri explained in the statement, "We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about. We are in the business of connecting people and ideas—and matching people with the stories they find most meaningful. Our integrity depends on being inclusive of all perspectives and view points, and using ranking to connect people with the stories and sources they find the most meaningful and engaging."