According to Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, European users will have access to features like Reels, Stories, and Search on Facebook and Instagram without seeing content that has been ranked by Meta’s recommendation algorithms. For instance, on Facebook and Instagram, users will be able to see Stories and Reels only from people they follow, arranged in chronological order from newest to oldest. They will also have the option to view search results based solely on the words they enter, rather than personalized recommendations based on their previous activity and interests.
These changes are being made by Meta to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), a new regulation that affects how tech companies moderate content on their platforms. The DSA requires large online platforms to allow users to opt out of personalized recommendations. TikTok announced a similar change for its service in Europe earlier this month. Meta aims to comply with the DSA by the end of this month.
In the past, Instagram and Facebook users already had the ability to view certain 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 few months later in July. However, these announcements focused on the main feeds of both services and did not mention the option to access Reels or Stories content chronologically.
According to Clegg, the changes made to Stories, Reels, and Search are just part of Meta’s efforts to comply with the DSA this month. Meta currently has over 1,000 employees working on meeting the new rules. The company has also expanded its Ad Library to provide more transparency on ads, offered more details on its recommendation algorithms, implemented new limits on targeting teenagers for advertisers, simplified the reporting of illegal content, and plans to provide users in the EU with more information on moderation decisions.