Meta announces new features and additional transparency measures

Meta announced on Tuesday that users of Instagram and Facebook services in Europe will be given more options to opt out of its recommendation algorithms, in response to the Digital Services Act that comes into effect later this month.

Meta’s head of global affairs, Nick Clage, said in a blog post that European users will be able to access features such as Reels and Stories, and search Instagram and Facebook without seeing content rated by Meta’s recommendation algorithms.

“For example, users on Facebook and Instagram will have the option to show only stories and short videos from people they follow, arranged in chronological order, from newest to oldest,” Clegg explained.

“They will also be able to display search results based solely on the words they enter, rather than personalizing them based on their past activities and personal interests.”

Meta is implementing these changes to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act, a new piece of regulation that will affect how tech companies manage content on their platforms.

The Digital Services Act requires major online platforms to allow users to opt out of receiving personal recommendations.

TikTok announced a similar change to its service in Europe earlier this month. Meta says it will have to comply with the Digital Services Act by later this month.

Instagram and Facebook users can already view specific parts of the services using chronological feeds without algorithmically recommended content.

Instagram provided a purely timeline in March 2022, while Facebook introduced the Feeds tab in July 2022.

In both cases, the ads were related to the main feeds provided by both services, without mentioning the ability to access content for short videos or stories in chronological order.

According to Clegg, the changes made to stories, short videos and the search feature are part of a wider body of work Meta is doing to comply with the Digital Services Act this month.

It now appears that Meta now has more than 1,000 employees currently working to comply with the new rules.

Clegg says the company has released an expanded Ad Library to provide more transparency about which ads are displayed on its platforms, provided more details about its recommendation algorithms, and introduced new boundaries on how advertisers target teens.

It is also trying to make it easier to report illegal content on its platforms, and will give users in the EU more information about moderation decisions.

 

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