Facebook today announced some changes to its ad platform that give users a say into which ads do or don't get shown to other users. The social network has for years offered little buttons to let you "hide" specific ads, but now, Facebook will give users the opportunity to say why they've hidden something. These choices range from "This ad's not relevant to me" to "This ad is spam" and even glitches like "I keep seeing this ad." If Facebook keeps hearing that one ad is offensive or irrelevant, it will show it to fewer users.
Facebook's changes to ads in some ways parallel its methodology for showing updates from Pages you've liked. If you often like updates from one page, Facebook will show you more updates from that page. Concordantly, Facebook will now attempt to show you better-catered ads based on which ads you've hidden. If you care to help, there's even a "This ad is useful" button to click on. Don't get too overzealous though — Facebook says that it weights feedback more heavily from users who only hide ads every so often instead of hiding every single ad. In Facebook's tests, some users hid 30 percent fewer ads after helping the system learn what was relevant to them. "When we listen carefully, this feedback helps us show better ads — even to those who aren't very vocal," the company said in a blog post.
Today's update is only the latest way Facebook has attempted to make your news feed better. The company has recently admitted to showing more hard news, hiding more "clickbait," and emphasizing "life event" posts from friends, like graduations and other milestones