Monday, 24 April 2017

How to stop the Facebook algorithms censoring your news feed

During Theresa May's vanity election the Another Angry Voice blog went a bit bonkers with more page visits in the first week of the election than it had ever managed to get in a whole month previously!

This massive wave of hits happened because a few of my articles went viral on Facebook. One of the most commonly occurring comments beneath the viral posts was "welcome back Another Angry Voice".

Regular readers will know that I'd been in the most hyper-productive period ever in the few months before the election, easily averaging more than one new article every single day since the turn of the year (and I don't churn out shit super-short click bait rubbish either, all my articles are lengthy, well researched and carefully sourced) so these "welcome back" comments may have seemed a bit confusing if I didn't already know how Facebook's algorithms work to promote certain content and repress other content.

These "welcome back" people were unaware that I've been working away like crazy because the Facebook algorithms decided to stop showing them any AAV content whatever in their news feed.

These AAV followers only thought I'd "come back" because my articles went so viral over the last week that they saw some of my content when it was shared by other people they know, not because Facebook showed it to them directly in their news feed.

Out of the almost 300,000 people who follow the Another Angry Voice Facebook page I'm absolutely certain that there are huge numbers who never ever see any of my content thanks to the infuriating way the Facebook algorithms work.

The problem is that people generally follow so many pages these days that it's pretty much impossible for Facebook to show everything on people's news feed, so the algorithms promote some content and block out other content.

There are a few ways around this kind of auto-censorship regime, but none of them are perfect.

1. Most recent

Image 1
Instead of just scrolling through the news feed that the Facebook algorithms present you, there is option to select "Most Recent". If you do this you get a much more diverse feed that presents you content from a lot more of the pages you follow, not just the pages that the Facebook algorithms auto-select for you.

On a web browser it's done by selecting "Most Recent" from the news feed settings (see image 1). 

Unfortunately Facebook always keeps automatically reverting your feed back to "Top stories" (the algorithm auto-selected content) but there is a way around this too. "Most Recent" works by adding a bit of text to the Facebook url, so if you copy the url for your "Most Recent" feed into your bookmarks, or onto your browser launch favourites, you can access Facebook straight into your uncensored news feed every time. 

Image 2
Here's the link to copy:

In the Facebook mobile app it's much simpler to access your "Most Recent" feed, you just click on the main menu and find it amongst the options (see image 2)

2. Interactions

If you particularly like a page it's a very good idea to interact with it as much as possible. 

You don't have to share every post or write an essay in the comments each time, but likes, comments and shares are one of the main ways that the Facebook algorithms determine whether on not to continue showing you the content from any particular page, so it's always a good idea to engage with the pages you like the most.

If you like a page and want to keep seeing its content in your "Top Stories" feed, remember to at least click like or leave the occasional comment (which doesn't have to be anything special or noteworthy, a "good work" or "I agree" will do the trick).

3. See First

Image 3
Beware: This is the nuclear option. If you mess around with this in order to override the Facebook algorithms, you'll find posts from the pages you've elected to "See First" cluttered at the top of your news feed from here to eternity.

To enable the "See first" option, simply visit the pages you want to prioritise in your news feed and mouse over the "Following" icon to get the drop down menu of options, then switch from "Default" to "See first" (see image 3).

Remember: You'd better make sure you like a page a lot before you do this, otherwise you're going to get pretty peeved at it constantly showing up at the top of your feed.


If you don't already follow the Another Angry Voice Facebook page, maybe give it a try (but for your own good don't select "see first" until you're absolutely sure you like it eh!)

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


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