Facebook is set to begin telling its users why posts appear in their news feeds, presumably in response to government concerns over its influence over billions of people's reading habits.
The social network will today introduce a button on each post revealing why users are seeing it, including factors such as whether they have interacted often with the person who made the post or whether it is popular with other users.
It comes as part of a wider effort to make Facebook's systems more transparent and secure in advance of the EU elections in May and attempts by European and American politicians to regulate social media. John Hegeman, Facebook's vice president of
news feed, told the Telegraph:
We hear from people frequently that they don't know how the news feed algorithm works, why things show up where they do, as well as how their data is used, This is a step towards addressing that.
We haven't done as much as we could do to explain to people how the products work and help them access this information... I can't blame people for being a little bit uncertain or suspicious.
We recognise how important the platform that Facebook has become now is in the world, and that means we have a responsibility to ensure that people who use it have a good experience and that it can't be used in ways that are harmful.
We are making decisions that are really important, and so we are trying to be more and more transparent... we want the external world to be able to hold us accountable.