On Friday, Facebook announced a new set of tools that give users more control over the content of their newsfeed. New options include telling Facebook you don’t want to see certain posts, that you’d like to see fewer posts from particular people, and the ability to see whose posts you have seen most.
In an interview with the New York Times Adam Mosseri, the head of the newsfeed development team, said the goal is to offer a balance between granular control and ease of use. (The assumption being that detailed control over the newsfeed will prove too complicated and cumbersome for average users.)
The goal behind the new options is two-fold: a customizable newsfeed means fewer posts you don’t want to see. One common criticism of Facebook’s marquee product is that the company has never provided a clear description of what goes into a user’s newsfeed. The newsfeed algorithm is a black box. The new options give users at least the appearance of greater control. The second objective is creating more targeted ads.
Ultimately, Facebook wants people to spend more time on the service, which exposes them to more ads, the source of most of the company’s revenue. In a town hall discussion with users on Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, said, “With news feed, our goal is to build the perfect, personalized newspaper for everyone in the world.”