If You Block an Ad, Facebook Now Wants to Know Why

Says feedback improves News Feed

Facebook wants to know why users decide to block certain sponsored posts in an effort to serve more relevant ads in the News Feed. The social network has always let users hide unwanted ads, but now the site will ask a series of questions about why.

When users click on a sponsored post to block it, they're asked, "Why don't you want to see this?" Was it because you found it irrelevant, offensive, annoying? Facebook says responses from relatively few people will increase the relevance of ads for all users.

"When testing this update, we looked at when people told us that ads were offensive or inappropriate and stopped showing those ads. As a result, we saw a significant decrease in the number of ads people reported as offensive or inappropriate," the company said in a blog post today that announced the new ad tool. "This means we were able to take signals from a small number of people on a small number of particularly bad ads to improve the ads everyone sees on Facebook."

Facebook said ad monitoring won't impact most advertisers or the performance of their campaigns.

Also, Facebook has been testing another new feature—vanishing posts. This week, some iPhone Facebook app users started trying out expiration dates on posts so the statuses automatically delete—removed from the permanent digital record.

The Next Web was the first to see images of the vanishing posts. It reports that users are asked if they want their posts to expire within minutes or within a week. The expiring posts appear to be a response to changing social media use, especially among young people who no longer want a lasting record of all their digital activities.