Facebook has taken flak for the tone of its news feeds, a question-and-answer style news feed that helps determine which posts your friends see, and therefore how you see them. With algorithms including insights that try to recommend posts that are “like” or “interesting” to you, Facebook has functioned to many on the site to be the gatekeeper to news — and, in their eyes, to a creepier version of it.
But new documents leaked from Facebook to an NBC News show that the company itself isn’t fond of the news feed, where your friends show up first. About 85 percent of that algorithm is composed of “you.” But, in one section of the document, titled, “What Is Our Community Like?” it’s said that 81 percent of Facebook users “use News Feed to ‘only see the content the people you like the most.’” In fact, 84 percent are more likely to post to their news feed by checking in to a popular page on the site.
In another section, “What is our Community Like?,” the company compares the different settings to work, which is that different people “like more stuff that we show them,” which provides Facebook with more data.
In a later section, “How do we count how many people actually use Facebook?,” it seems that Facebook makes no secret of how it chooses which posts are “liked” by whom. The company assumes that “people often use different liking styles,” and thus they will know what people are doing on the site. Therefore, it can determine which posts are more liked, so the company then goes to work reposting what it wants you to see. For instance, many of the “likes” it features are for posts that Facebook didn’t even actually surface first; instead, it starts reposting them so it can count more likes as relevant.
With this new information, we can begin to get a better idea of what the site is trying to do by varying what it lets in, and how it chooses what’s presented for you to see.