Facebook is making it easier to connect to your friends and family, launching a new feature on Thursday (July 21) that lets users see posts in reverse chronological order rather than content that’s been ranked by an algorithm.
Called “Feeds,” the tool is a dedicated tab in the Facebook app that shows all the latest posts from your friends list. The main news feed will now be known as “Home,” and will act as more of a “discovery engine” based on people’s online habits.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post Thursday, “One of the most requested features for Facebook is to make sure people don’t miss friends’ posts. So today we’re launching a Feeds tab where you can see posts from your friends, groups, Pages and more separately in chronological order. The app will still open to a personalized feed on the Home tab, where our discovery engine will recommend the content we think you’ll care most about. But the Feeds tab will give you a way to customize and control your experience further.”
Going back to a more basic social media experience where the feed is more focused on activity from friends and family is something Instagram and Twitter already offer. Instagram-owned Facebook used to run an algorithm-based feed after previously showing users posts in real-time with the newest posts at the top. After ditching the chronological order in 2016, Instagram went to the algorithm until this year, allowing users to change their settings to show the latest posts from people they follow first (learn how to do that here).
Twitter has a similar feature that enables people to set their timeline to show only the latest tweets from people they follow or to show recommended, algorithm-based tweets (learn how to do that here).
Per CNBC, Facebook, Google and other Big Tech companies are under fierce scrutiny from regulators over the way their platforms have reshaped society. Among the most controversial issues at hand is the use of people’s personal data to amplify posts that fuel the most engagement, such as fake news, as well as targeted advertising.