Facebook announced a couple more changes to the News Feed on Thursday, specifically around how it shows ads to people. Both changes deal with the signals Facebook gets from people who choose to hide the ads they see.
Product manager Max Eulenstein explains, "For years, we have given people the choice to hide an ad so they no longer see it in their News Feed. We’ve also looked at these hides and used them as a signal that other people on Facebook might not want to see that ad. Now, we are going a step further by taking into account the specific reason they didn’t want to see that ad, and use that as a signal to inform whether or not we show the ad to other people. Second, we’re going to pay more attention to feedback from people who don’t often hide ads so that when they do give us feedback we take it as a stronger signal."
Regarding the first change, Eulenstein says, "When testing this update, we looked at when people told us that ads were offensive or inappropriate and stopped showing those ads. As a result, we saw a significant decrease in the number of ads people reported as offensive or inappropriate. This means we were able to take signals from a small number of people on a small number of particularly bad ads to improve the ads everyone sees on Facebook."
The second change is interesting, and could be pretty effective. Speaking personally as someone who doesn't go out of my way to hide ads very often, it's good to know that by doing so it really is sending a meaningful signal to the company.
Facebook says testing of this signal has already shown an improvement in its ability to serve better ads. It also says neither change will have any effect on most advertisers.
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