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Meta’s Latest Move: European Users Given Choice to Opt for Algorithm-Free Timeline Viewing

In an announcement made today, Meta has revealed its new initiative to grant European users on Facebook and Instagram the ability to curate their experience. Users now have the option to exclusively view Stories and Reels from accounts they follow, arranged in a chronological order from newest to oldest. This innovative feature essentially empowers users to bypass algorithm-generated content that often tends to be monotonous and repetitive.

The essence of this update lies in the freedom it offers users to switch off algorithmic sorting. Meta, known for its employment of artificial intelligence (AI) systems to rank content on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, employs 22 system cards to curate content based on individual user interactions. However, with this recent development, European users can access Reels, Stories, Search, and other segments of the platforms without content being dictated by Meta’s AI systems.

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“This step empowers our European community to explore and consume content on various parts of Facebook and Instagram without the influence of Meta’s ranking systems,” stated the company in an official release.

Nevertheless, this transition towards greater transparency wasn’t a spontaneous decision on Meta’s part. The tech giant’s announcement is in alignment with the European Union’s Digital Service Act (DSA), a regulatory framework applicable to countries within the EU. The DSA aims to oversee technology corporations like Meta, Google, and X (formerly Twitter), regulating how these entities moderate content on their respective platforms.

With meticulous planning, Meta has mobilized a dedicated cross-functional team comprising over 1,000 individuals. This collective effort is focused on preparing the social media platforms and associated technologies for the imminent implementation of the DSA across EU nations on August 25th.

In addition to enhancing transparency surrounding advertisements across Meta’s technologies, the company is also expanding its Ad Library. This repository will provide a comprehensive archive of all advertisements directed at EU audiences. The Ad Library will furnish details such as the ad’s runtime, targeting parameters like age, gender, and location, and the audience it was presented to. This information will be publicly available in the Ad Library for a duration of one year.

Highlighting its commitment to balanced regulatory standards that safeguard users’ online rights while nurturing innovation, Meta commented, “We have consistently advocated for a cohesive regulatory framework that effectively safeguards users’ online rights while concurrently fostering innovation. Therefore, we welcome the principles of transparency, accountability, and user empowerment that underpin regulations such as the DSA, GDPR, and the ePrivacy Directive.”

As per Reuters, Meta stands among the 19 platforms identified by the DSA as pivotal in ensuring a safer online environment. Other platforms on this list encompass Alphabet’s offerings such as Google Maps, Google Play, Google Search, Google Shopping, and YouTube, as well as Amazon’s Marketplace and Apple’s App Store.