Is Facebook restricting users’ News Feeds to just 25 or 26 friends? A Facebook Post that has been doing the rounds over the last few months would suggest it is. But how accurate is this? The answer is “not very” – as although it is a hoax post, there is a nugget of truth in it.
The hoax post claims Facebook has implemented an algorithm change that means you will only see posts from a few of your friends. It encourages users to combat this by copying and pasting a message about the “change” and asking users’ friends to reply to the post. Variations of this hoax have been circulating for some time, and even though Facebook has confirmed the information it contains is inaccurate, it hasn’t stopped people sharing it (see example in the image).
The truth of the matter
However, there is an element of truth in the message. Facebook’s algorithm does make a judgement as to which friends and brands it thinks you want to see content from and prioritises this in your News Feed.
Facebook has been doing this since the start of the year, when, in response to feedback that public content (i.e. posts from businesses, brands and media) is crowding out the personal moments from actual real friends, it changed the algorithm so that the only posts that appear in the top of Facebook users’ feeds are ones with lots of ‘meaningful engagement’. AKA: comments.
As Facebook explained in a blog post about the change to its algorithm:
“Today [Jan 11, 2018] we use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed. With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion. We will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content, consistent with our News Feed values.”
Ultimately Facebook is trying to be its true self – a ‘social’ network. Where people chat with each other and build relationships with each other, rather than just mindlessly sharing posts that they haven’t really read.
What this means for you?
If the Posts that appear top of people’s Facebook News Feeds is dependent on the meaningful interactions that a Post enjoys, this means that you (and all other brands trying to use Facebook for marketing) are going to have to work much harder.
It isn’t sufficient for you and you alone to comment on the bottom of your posts. Nor is just one comment from one follower going to do the trick. Facebook has indicated that the most successful posts will be those with comments from lots of people. It means that your posts need to encourage people to get involved and add their thoughts, experiences and opinions. You need to spark a conversation.
We identified lots of ways to do this, which we share with those people taking part in our Facebook marketing workshop and email training programme.
The next workshop takes place on Thursday 25 October in the Dordogne, France, and costs 50 Euros. You can find out more and book your place here.
We are also planning an online version of this workshop. To register your interest for this, please contact Becky Slack at firstname.lastname@example.org