Facebook Ads and News Feed Updates: What You Need to Know


In an effort to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to transparency, Facebook rolled out new tools to give its users context and control over their Facebook experience. Between data breaches, fake news scandals and the live streaming of the tragic event in New Zealand, Facebook is working to regain the trust of its users. In two recent updates last month, the social media platform made announcements regarding transparency, particularly relating to advertisements and the newsfeed algorithm.

Last month, Facebook rolled out a better way to learn about ads. Facebook is committed to giving users (and, most surprisingly, nonusers) more information about the behind-the-scenes advertising processes. The platform launched a new Ad Library — previously known as Ad Archive in U.S. — to openly communicate information about who saw the ads, what audiences were targeted and how much money was put behind the advertisements. The Ad Archive shared this information previously but only as it related to politics or issues. With the new Ad Library, the public will have the opportunity to access this information about all advertisements.

Facebook also wants users to feel they have the means to take action on ads. Users will be able to report ads within the Ad Library. Alternatively, if a user is visiting a Page, there will now be a  “Page Transparency” button which will show the information about the page from the Ad Library. Starting in mid-May, the developers will also be updating The Ad Library Report daily, sharing background insight on ads relating to politics or issues.

We’re committed to creating a new standard of transparency and authenticity for advertising. By the end of June, we’ll roll out transparency tools for political or issue ads around the world. Shining a brighter light on advertising and Pages on Facebook holds us and advertisers more accountable, which is good for people and businesses.
— Satwik Shukla, Product Manager

The second feature that the platform announced in March is an update to the “Why am I seeing this post? feature. After evaluating feedback from Facebook users, they realized transparency in the News Feed was not enough to quiet those who were unsatisfied with the app. Users asked for more autonomy over what posts they see or don’t see and how frequently they see them. This is the first time that Facebook will be building information on how post ranking works right into the app.

With the new “Why am I seeing this Post?” feature, you’ll be able to tap on ads and posts to get context on why they’re appearing in your feed and take steps to customize what information you continue to see. At the end of the day, Facebook’s main goal is to show you posts that you care about the most so that you have an enjoyable user experience and continue to use the app. By consulting with the user in real time about the quality of the content they are exposed to, they’ll be able to curate more relevant content in your feed.

Based on the feedback they received, Facebook identified what information was most relevant to users to understand why a post ranks on their newsfeed. For example, you’re seeing a post because you’re a member of a group, you followed a page, or a friend of yours shared it. Facebook will also let users know the specific information that influences the order of posts, such as engagement, type of content or overall popularity.

With the overall goal of providing context and control, Facebook is gearing up to continue to break barriers between their back end processes and the app users. We’ll be keeping an eye on Facebook as they continue to make adjustments to their transparency.

Story By: Sophie Duncan