Meta Uses AI to Organize Your Feeds. Now It's Telling You How
The company says new tools will give you more control over what you see on Instagram and Facebook.
Katie CollinsSenior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
How much influence does AI have over what you see on social media? Meta is aware its use of the technology can be opaque, and it's now aiming to give you more insight and control over what you see on Facebook and Instagram, as part of updates it unveiled Thursday.
The company uses AI that incorporates your "feedback" (how you engage with content by liking, sharing or commenting on it) to refine which posts it serves up to you via your social feeds. In theory, this means that it should deliver content tailored to your own interests and preferences -- but that doesn't mean it always gets it right.
Meta said this week that it's going to be more open about how it uses AI to affect your experience on its platforms. And if it's not getting it right, you'll have the power to change it. In the name of transparency, it's releasing 22 "system cards" -- explainers laying out in detail how it uses AI to control what appears on your Instagram Explore page, or what accounts it suggests for you to follow. To make this information more accessible, it's expanding its "Why am I seeing this?" feature to apply it across more types of content.
Meta will also be providing you with more options to tell you what kind of content you like to see through centralized controls on both Facebook and Instagram. On Instagram, you can already tell the company if you want to see less content of a specific type in your feed, but soon you'll also be able to tell it if you want to see more of a particular type of content.
As AI plays an increasingly central role in our online experiences, politicians and tech industry experts have started to engage more seriously in what the limits of this technology should be. With AI regulation in the offing, it's wise for companies making use of the tech to get ahead by offering increased insight to users about the role it plays in what they see online. With any regulation of AI, there will likely be rules built in dictating how transparent and honest tech companies need to be.
"With rapid advances taking place with powerful technologies like generative AI, it's understandable that people are both excited by the possibilities and concerned about the risks," said Meta's President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg, announcing the changes in a Newsroom post. "We believe that the best way to respond to those concerns is with openness."
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