This is not a prank. I repeat, disregard the fact that it is the first of April and the rest of the internet is teeming with bogus content: This is not a prank. Facebook is releasing a new feature that will let users see more information about each post that appears in their feed, explaining, in some detail, exactly why the Facebook algorithm is showing them said post. (It’s similar to a feature Facebook currently has for ads.)
We’re introducing “Why am I seeing this post?” to help you better understand and more easily control what you see from friends, Pages and Groups in your News Feed. This is the first time that we’ve built information on how ranking works directly into the app … This means you’ll be able to tap on posts and ads in News Feed, get context on why they’re appearing, and take action to further personalize what you see.
Some of the sample explanations are simple and obvious: the post is from a friend of yours or a page you’ve electively followed. Others are a little more nuanced: you’re seeing a post because you like posts from that particular friend more than posts from other friends. Facebook says it’ll also tell you “how often you interact with posts from people, Pages or Groups,” “how often you interact with a specific type of post, for example, videos, photos or links,” and “the popularity of the posts shared by the people, Pages and Groups you follow.” Users will also be shown shortcuts to options to better control their feeds, like electing to see posts from certain users less often.
The new feature — which, again, is not a prank, which you can tell because the official Facebook blog post about it was posted on March 31 — seems fine. (It will be rolled out to all users by mid-May.) It offers some nice additional information you might want if you’re still using Facebook regularly. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting on the “Clear History” feature, a privacy tool Mark Zuckerberg promised nearly a year ago that would let users opt out of letting Facebook aggregate and sell their personalized browsing data. But, hey, at least you’ll now know why you’re seeing posts from people you chose to friend.