Meta’s adding some new ways to provide input on the Reels that are displayed in your feed, while it’s also looking to showcase Reels - its fastest-growing content format - in more areas.
First off, Meta’s adding new, simplified feedback control options on Reels clips, so that you can register what you want to see more or less of in your feed.
As you can see in this image, there’ll now be a new ‘Show more’ and ‘Show less’ option at the top of the three dots menu on any Reels clip. Meta will also prompt users for direct feedback at the bottom of the screen, in order to better align their algorithmic recommendations with their interests.
As per Meta:
“Selecting Show More on a Reel will temporarily increase its ranking score and for Reels like it. Selecting Show Less will temporarily decrease its ranking score. By capturing your direct feedback, we’re able to make reels ranking smarter and more attuned to your preferences.”
This type of mechanism has been employed on TikTok and other short-form formats as well, providing a better feedback loop, which is especially important as the algorithm is increasingly becoming less reliant on your own social graph.
Indeed, Meta recently reported that more than 20% of the content now displayed in people’s Facebook feeds has been recommended by AI, based on their activity, while on Instagram, AI recommendations now account for some 40% of the content shown in-stream.
Traditionally, Meta has relied on the people and Pages that you’re connected to in order to dictate the content displayed, but as it moves away from that model, it has fewer direct feedback points to rely on for this purpose. Which is why these quick response options are even more important in guiding the algorithm towards your interests.
Meta says that it’s also adding contextual labels on the Reels player to explain why you’re seeing certain reels - ‘for example, because a friend of yours liked it’.
On another front, Meta’s also looking to better highlight Reels clips in the Watch feed, with a new Reels shelf to be added at the top of Facebook Watch, providing quick access to short-form video.
“When watching videos on Facebook, you’ll now be able to scroll seamlessly between Reels and long-form videos.”
Which makes sense. Again, Reels is the app’s fastest-growing content surface, while Meta says that Reels consumption has been the key driver of increasing user time spent in app.
Though users aren’t posting personal updates as much as they once were. Internal data from Meta shows that people are consuming more, but posting less, as Reels becomes a bigger part of the Facebook and IG experience.
Which is not so bad for Meta, at least right now, in that more eyeballs equals more ad opportunities. But a reduction in content could also have impacts over time, especially if Facebook loses its place as the key sharing destination for family and friend updates.
At present, it seems that most of that activity is switching to messaging apps instead, which Meta also dominates. But it’ll be interesting to see what the longer-term impacts of that shift might be.