Facebook announces news feed customization tools amid backlash from internal reports

Company’s news feed has been divisive feature for years.

Updated: November 20, 2021 - 3:04pm

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Social media company Facebook announced this week that it will be rolling out tests of new controls for its news feed, a measure likely meant to retain user interest as the company reels from damaging reports earlier this year.

A news feed effectively amounts to a Facebook user’s homepage, allowing users to see updates, photos, discussions and other information posted within their networks. 

The feature has been controversial for its relative lack of end-user controls. In an announcement this week, Facebook said users will now be able to "increase or reduce the amount of content they see from the friends, family, Groups and Pages they're connected to and the topics they care about in their News Feed Preferences."

"We’ll begin testing in countries around the world to a small percentage of people, gradually expanding in the coming weeks," the company said, calling it "part of our ongoing work to give people more control over News Feed, so they see more of what they want and less of what they don't."

Facebook was hit by negative press and attention earlier this year when a major Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that the company has known, "in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, often in ways only the company fully understands."