Instagram and Facebook users in Europe are getting more options to opt out of Meta’s recommendation algorithms, the company has explained in a blog post today. According to Meta’s president of global affairs Nick Clegg, European users will be able to access features like Reels, Stories, and Search on Facebook and Instagram without seeing content that’s been ranked by Meta’s recommendation algorithms.
“For example, on Facebook and Instagram, users will have the option to view Stories and Reels only from people they follow, ranked in chronological order, newest to oldest,” Clegg writes. “They will also be able to view Search results based only on the words they enter, rather than personalized specifically to them based on their previous activity and personal interests.”
Meta is making the changes to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), a new piece of regulation that will impact how tech companies moderate content on their platforms. In particular, the DSA requires very large online platforms to allow users to opt out of receiving personalized recommendations. TikTok announced a similar change to its service in Europe earlier this month. Meta says it will need to comply with the DSA by later this month.
Instagram and Facebook users are already able to view select parts of the services using chronological feeds without algorithmically-recommended content. Instagram introduced a purely chronological feed in March 2022, while Facebook announced a “Feeds” tab a couple months later in July. In both cases the announcements concerned the main feeds offered by both services, with no mention of being able to access Reels or Stories content chronologically.
According to Clegg, the changes made to the companies Stories, Reels, and Search are just part of a raft of work Meta is doing to comply with the DSA this month. Meta apparently has over 1,000 employees currently working on complying with the new rules. Clegg says the company has released an expanded Ad Library to offer more transparency on ads that run on its platforms, has offered more details on its recommendation algorithms, and has introduced new limits on how advertisers can target teens. It’s also attempting to make reporting illegal content easier on its platforms, and will give users in the EU more information on moderation decisions.