Facebook Tests 'See First' Feature for Prioritizing Certain Posts
In an ongoing effort to make its News Feed feature as revelant as possible for users, Facebook is testing something called "See First," which lets people ensure they see content from specific friends or pages at the tops of their feeds. Besides giving users the content they want most first, the new feature could also provide even greater insights to both Facebook and its advertisers.
Currently, Facebook users can designate which other accounts they want to friend or follow in the News Feed, and which they want to unfollow. However, they aren't able to prioritize news from certain friends or pages that they like best.
Over the past year, Facebook has made a large number of tweaks to the way its News Feed works. Earlier this month, for example, it added a new signal to its feed algorithm that gives greater weight to stories based on how long users view them.
'Always Exploring Ways To Improve'
We contacted Facebook to learn more about the See First feature. "We are always exploring new ways to improve the Facebook experience, and are currently running a small test of a feature that lets you indicate that you'd like to see posts from a specific person or Page at the top of your News Feed," a spokesperson told us. However, the spokesperson said that Facebook wasn't providing any further information about the test at this time.
The See First feature could help Facebook make its News Feed "more attractive to users but also to gather deeper analytics about users and what is important to them," analyst Dallas Salazar noted in an article on the investor site Seeking Alpha.
By doing that, "Facebook will also be able to identify how to better advertise to the 'downchain' News Feed," Salazar said. "Meaning the News Feed of the influencer. Meaning me if I'm electing to See First this friend." That could prove to be a "brilliant" move in terms of Facebook advertising, he noted.
Goal: 'Content that Matters'
"The goal of News Feed is to show you the content that matters to you," Facebook software engineers Ansha Yu and Sami Tas said last week during an announcement for another feed tweak that ranked stories based on how much time users spent on them. "The actions people take on Facebook -- liking, commenting or sharing a post -- are historically some of the main factors we've considered to determine what to show at the top of your News Feed."
See First could be the new "Holy Grail" for marketers who want to ensure their feeds don't filter out their content, according to an article in Tech Crunch, which first reported the appearance of the See First test button. And for users, that probably the most precise way to tune what they see on Facebook, the article noted.
Other recent changes Facebook has made to the way News Feed works include new settings to let users hide stories they don't want to see; the addition of annotations to posts that have been flagged as hoaxes or misleading news; and changes to its ranking algorithm to reduce the appearance of posts deemed by users to be overly promotional.
Image credit: Facebook; iStock/Artist's concept.
Posted: 2015-06-22 @ 9:13am PT
My Newsfeed options Most Recent, and Top Stories now don't stay checked when I opt for one. They look vaguely different. The worst thing though is now I don't have Ticker. The Ticker is now labeled Notifications and is showing the same thing the Notifications tab brings up. Ugh. I need help. I have tried reporting the problem to Facebook and found a community of "sufferers" there complaining about the same problem.