Technology

Facebook lets you rank friends in news feed

It’s one of the mysteries of Facebook. Why do posts from the most obscure friends often clutter a news feed while your closest friends are nowhere to be seen?

Recognizing that, the social media giant announced new preferences Thursday that allow users to select the friends and pages they want to see at the top of their news feeds.

The new feature builds on customization introduced in November that allowed users to delete posts on their news feed they weren’t interested in. That gave Facebook’s algorithm a better idea of what was and wasn’t valuable to users (and by extension, advertisers).

In addition to the new personalization tools, Facebook on Thursday also introduced a feature to search new Facebook pages to follow.

“We know that ultimately you’re the only one who truly knows what is most meaningful to you, and that is why we want to give you more ways to control what you see,” Jacob Frantz, Facebook product manager, wrote in a blog post.

It remains unknown precisely how Facebook puts together users’ news feeds, a page that aggregates posts from all the friends and pages a user follows.

It’s presumed the posts are arranged based on a user’s interests and interactions with the friends and pages they follow.

Frantz explained it this way: “The goal of News Feed is to show you the stories that matter most to you. To do this, we use ranking to order stories based on how interesting we believe they are to you: specifically, whom you tend to interact with, and what kinds of content you tend to like and comment on.”

That of course still doesn’t explain for many why someone from, say, grade school you’ve had no contact with in decades kept popping up. With the expanded features now, that may no longer matter.

Follow @dhpierson for tech news.

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