Facebook is still trying to figure out how to fix the news feed and intends to ask users about the type of content they want to see. In the coming months, the company will begin investigating users about the content of its news feeds, including whether too much political content contributes to “negative experiences”.
“Increasingly, we are hearing comments from people who see a lot of content about politics and many other types of posts and comments that affect their experience in the News Feed,” wrote Facebook on a blog. “We will work to better understand what types of content are related to these negative experiences.”
The company will also analyze users if they find the content “inspiring” and do research on their interest in certain topics, such as cooking, sports and politics. The goal, says Facebook, is to help users customize their news feeds according to their interests.
But, at a higher level, it aims to respond to criticism that the algorithms that govern the flow of news make people feel bad or contribute to polarization. At the same time, Mark Zuckerberg said he wants to reduce the amount of political content in the News Feed in general. “People don’t want politics and struggle to take ownership of their experience,” said Zuckerberg in January.
Separately, Facebook has already tested ways to remove political posts from the News Feed. In addition to surveys, Facebook will test another tool to help users have more control over what they see, with a new “x” button that will hide a post in the News Feed.
The service already allows users to hide posts, but the option is buried in the “…” menu, so many people may not know it exists.