Twitter’s “least frequently watched” button is a great way to force promoted content


When I post one of My patented hot takes on me TwitterI don’t deal with half-measures. If I were to declare Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts the “Philly Athlete of the Year,” I hope the site’s approach to promotional spam works in the same way. But instead of offering users a full restraining order against these things, Twitter just gives us the option to specify “suggested visiting hours”.

And it does this under the guise of a “least frequently watched” button.

Many major social networks, such as Twitter And the Facebook, Forcing posts on us that we didn’t ask to see and there’s usually only one very An annoying way to deal with it: That damn button. Whether it’s direct ads, promoted posts, or even random posts by strangers, our only recourse usually is to indicate that we’d like to see them. less from him instead of no one from him.

These social networks give us the illusion of control over our feeds but apparently no actual control – similar to how a recent study from Mozilla found it YouTube “Dislike” button It doesn’t really change the videos the site suggests for you.

The dreaded Watch Less button is one of the worst parts of modern web design. If unwanted posts are thrown at us, we should have a more specific way to stop it.

Forced content

If you use Twitter, you’ve likely seen this button before. It appears in various forms across different social networks; Sometimes she appears as “not interested” on Instagram or “show me a little of this” on Facebook. However, Twitter is the site I use the most — I simply can’t escape the magnetic pull of rubbery navigation through an endless scroll of horrible posts, sometimes broken down by a decent meme or two. So it’s the social media example that I’m going to stick with for now.

Twitter decides regularly, based on No direct input From me, I absolutely need to see some viral posts like Rockstar Games Statement distance big Grand Theft Auto 6 a leak. Personally, I get a lot of recommendations for gaming content, probably because I tweet a lot about video games. Sometimes I also get regular world news coverage. When I do that, it shows up in the notifications tab, like so.

Twitter notice about Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral

I didn’t want to see this. I didn’t ask to see this. Twitter made me see this.
Credit: screenshot: Twitter

I’m sorry for the late queen, but I have a lot going on now. I didn’t really care about her state funeral because I had some bones to pick with the concept of a dynasty. (But that’s a conversation for another day.) Put simply, I avoided it All From that coverage – I didn’t want to watch or hear the funeral on TV or Twitter or anywhere else. I Start You want to see a notification pop up about that particular royal family again. As such, I clicked the three dots in the notification corner to dismiss it, which brought me face to face with the most passive aggressive button.

If only this button says “I don’t care”.
Credit: screenshot: Twitter

Clicking that gruesome button will make that particular notification disappear, replacing it with a public promise that Twitter “will use this to improve your experience.” Not by getting rid of those notifications entirely, I guess. Even the official language on Twitter support site Don’t give too much confidence that you will actually see fewer such posts.

“When you mark a Tweet as Show Often, it helps Twitter better understand the types of Tweets you’d like to see less of in the Home timeline. We may use this information to improve and personalize your experience in the future. You can access this option from a file [three dots] Token in a tweet.

Oh .. you mayo Use the information to adapt my experience in the future? How really thoughtful. Note that there is no obligation there. It’s just a shame because Twitter already has some great (if somewhat hidden) features that enhance the experience, like the ability to Ignore notifications from people who don’t follow you.

There is a similar dynamic with suggested content on Instagram, where clicking ‘I’m not interested’ hides the post and the app commits to showing ‘fewer posts’ like it from now on. According to at least one reddit themethis may not necessarily be true.

I use it all the time and it only gives me Instagram more One of the types of posts I’m not interested in is, “The Coincidence User said.” It’s as if any interaction you have with them is automatically a positive one. “

Instagram "We'll be showing fewer posts like this from now on" Notice

Yes, you definitely will.
Credit: screenshot: Instagram

Not surprisingly, this also happens with ads on Facebook, where you can choose to watch less of a certain type of advertising. It’s not clear what this button does (and I haven’t been able to find any relevant stats for it), but about 24 hours after I clicked on an ad for a company I wouldn’t mention, I got else An advertisement for the products of that same company.

However, that’s not the end of the story when it comes to Facebook ads.

Show less ads button on Facebook

I hit the Show Less button, but it doesn’t do much.
Credit: screenshot: Facebook

Probably Just The time in my life, I’ll give Facebook credit for something: You can Turn off all ads From a specific advertiser if you want. Simply click on the three dots in the top right corner of the offensive ad, then click on “Why am I seeing this ad?” , then click Hide all ads from this advertiser.

See, this is the kind of final answer I’m looking for. There are no fairness here… except for the part where Facebook will continue to show you ads from other companies.

Facebook Hide All Ads From This Advertiser Button

The advertiser’s name has been banned because, frankly, their products are somewhat of a psychedelic.
Credit: screenshot: Facebook

If I want to see this, I’ll follow

Now, I realize that social networks need advertising money to survive. Facebook, in particular, has brought About 115 billion dollars in Advertising revenue In 2021. This is what keeps the lights on. So when Facebook doesn’t let me turn off ads completely, and instead just gives me a tiny bit of choice on what ads I want to do See often, I get it. It stinks, but I understand it.

But Twitter is different. The whole build of Twitter is that if you want to see someone’s tweets, you hit the follow button on their profile. If you want to listen to Spaces, go to the Spaces tab in the app. If you want to research a specific topic, go to the Trends tab to find out Celebrities who spit on each other. Simply.

But over the years, social networks have abandoned this construction in favor of making sure you see things you didn’t ask to see. They do it while presenting delusion To control via the “Less Frequently Watched” buttons. But a quick scan reddit or lightning Twitter search It turns out that a lot of people share my belief that this is the online equivalent of an elevator’s “close the door” button. I have enough experience in New York City office buildings to tell you that the elevator button works at all Nothing, aside from making whoever’s pressuring her seem like a jerk off power.

So, I guess, in keeping with the halving theme, I have to return the favor: If Twitter doesn’t let me see fewer of these posts, it might see a few of me moving forward.





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