Facebook takes control of what you see – how to take it back

Facebook is again making changes to what’s displayed in your news feed. And they are getting farther away than ever before than just showing you posts from your friends and pages you like in chronological order. I’ll tell you about the changes and then show you how to get some of that control back.

First, the changes:

In their press release, Facebook says that they plan on bringing people together to encouraging meaningful interactions. What they’re actually doing is reducing the visibility of public posts from pages belonging to businesses and media. For example, the Cyn’s Tech Tips Facebook page or CNN, or maybe a cooking page that you follow on Facebook.

These posts will be far less likely to appear in your feed. But Facebook is doing it because they don’t think interacting with these posts is good for you, even if you enjoy it. Here’s a direct quote from their press release.

“There are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.

Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

Am I the only one that thinks this sounds like your high school principal explaining why the vending machines will no longer stock chips and soda?

Facebook is also going re-prioritize posts from friends and family to determine which posts will spark what they call “meaningful interactions.”  All of this will be judged by the companies News Feed Values.

Here’s what I think is going on. First, they want to make more money from advertising. If pages want to be seen on your Facebook feed, they’re going to have to pay a lot more for it.  I can’t blame the company for wanting to make money, but I honestly don’t think they’re making these changes to give you meaningful interaction with your family.

The interaction part of it is important as well. Facebook lives by collecting data from its users to sell to advertisers. If you aren’t commenting or liking or somehow interacting with posts, they aren’t getting any data. You just watching a video or reading a status doesn’t do anything for them. So, in a way, you’re being punished for not reacting or commenting on posts.

Facebook is, after all, founder Mark Zuckerberg’s project. And folks don’t seem to be using it the way he envisioned it happening. And he seems a little ticked. But like any good nanny, he’s going to put us on the straight and narrow and make us play nice.

I know that many of you long for the days when Facebook just showed your friends’ posts in chronological order. But those days aren’t coming back. Every service from Facebook to your email wants to be a so-called “smart pipe” that shows what it determines is the most meaningful content in the order it wants you to see it.

Here’s what you can do to make it easier to see the posts that you want:

Like (or have any reaction) to and comment on the posts by your friends, family, and sites that you enjoy seeing posts from.

You can also click that little drop-down arrow button at the top of your feed and select News Feed Preferences from the drop-down menu.


On a mobile device, select the three-line menu button for settings.


And then scroll down to News Feed Preferences.



For both browser and mobile, choose Prioritize who to see first.


Go through and click on the people and pages you want to see first. You’ll see a star symbol on the ones you select and See First will appear below the name.



You can click the arrow by All to sort by Friends, Pages, or the people you already see first.




When you’re done selecting, click on People you see first to make sure all of your favorites are included. Pay particular attention to make sure that my pages are listed. (Just kidding, follow what you want.)


Then click the Done button.


This should help you see what you want to see. But make sure to like and comment on posts from people and pages you wish to keep seeing.

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