Facebook, forever maligned for what it shows and doesn't show people in their news feeds, might be moving to give users a bit more control.
AdWeek's SocialTimes spotted a new feature on mobile – a prompt that's showing up atop users' news feeds asking them to "pick friend and pages and see their posts at the top of News Feed."
Facebook is advertising it as a way to "see more of what you love."
Once you pick some friends and pages, Facebook says that "their posts will appear at the top of your News Feed so you'll never miss them."
Facebook had this to say, a typical "we're testing" response:
We are always exploring new ways to improve the Facebook experience, and are currently running a small test of a feature that lets you indicate that you’d like to see posts from a specific person or Page at the top of your News Feed.
Facebook can't show you everything from every friend and page you follow. Anyone with a page knows how Facebook's organic reach has plummeted over the past year or so. Facebook says that it does not filter posts from friends, however, and all you have to do to see every single thing every single friend posts is to scroll down far enough.
Of course, that's not really feasible. Facebook's algorithms, which weigh the importance of posts on a variety of factors, should take into account how close you are to said person (through interactions) when sorting your News Feed.
But this would be one surefire way to tell Facebook that you never, under any circumstances, want to miss a post by a specific person or page.
Facebook already does something like this for friends. You can still add friends to a "close friends" list, "to see more of them in your News Feed and get notified each time they post." The notifications are optional.
But this could be really good news for pages, who continue to suffer with visibility. Recently, Facebook announced a tweak to News Feed that would show users more content from friends, and even less from pages.
"The update tries to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it. If you like to read news or interact with posts from pages you care about, you will still see that content in News Feed. This update tries to make the balance of content the right one for each individual person," it said.
“The goal of News Feed is to show you the content that matters to you,” it said. “This means we need to give you the right mix of updates from friends and public figures, publishers, businesses and local organizations you are connected to. This balance is different for everyone depending on what people are most interested in learning about every day. As more people and pages are sharing more content, we need to keep improving News Feed to get this balance right.”
But if Facebook allows people to designate pages whose content they under no circumstances want to miss, it could help those pages, at least in theory, get more reach.
That's considering said page's content is good enough that a user would designate it as a must not miss. Your content is that desirable, right?