Take control of your Facebook News Feed

You may be missing updates from friends and pages you care about due to a change Facebook has made in its news feed. As a default, Facebook is only feeding news from the people and places you interact with most. So an old friend, for instance, may have announced a marriage engagement you may have missed. (Of course, you may have also been spared hundreds of Farmville requests.)

To ensure you’re seeing everything in your feed, just login to Facebook. At the top of your news feed, click “Most Recent”. Then click the arrow next to most recent.

Then under “Show Posts From:” select “All friends and pages.”

Done.

Notice the difference? As our friend on Facebook Amber who alerted us to this issue last week said, “I just can’t believe how much feed I’ve been missing for the last couple of months!”

Why did Facebook do this?

We know the average Facebook user follows more than two hundred friends, pages, groups and events. That makes a Facebook feed flow fast and furiously.

Facebook knows that the more likely you are to engage with your feed, the longer you’ll stay on the site. And who are you most likely to interact with? Someone you’ve interacted with before.

About five years ago, before Facebook became Facebook. I was working at a big digital media company trying to build a social network to compete with MySpace. Industry research was saying that most people didn’t know what to do once they logged into a social network and the solution to this problem was the news feed. For industry research, this was a pretty good prediction. In some way it predicted the appeal of Twitter.

But it wasn’t until Facebook opened its API to third-party developers that the news feed became the lifeblood of the hugest social network phenomenon of the digital age. Facebook will do anything it can to keep your feed vital and addictive—even if it means dropping some of your friends out of your news feed.

Why should I change it back?

We admit it. We’re prejudiced. We want you to follow us on Facebook and see the Internet security tips and news we share. But we also want to keep in contact with the people and things you care about most, even if it isn’t F-Secure.

By taking people out of your feed, Facebook is enabling over-friending and following. This can become a security or spam problem if you’re following the wrong people. But you shouldn’t be following the wrong people. By keeping a realistic view of who you’re actually following, you’ll know when you need to audit your account.

Isn’t this good? It’ll prevent spam.

Maybe it will suppress spam. But the best thing we all can do to stop spam is to warn our friends that they’re sharing questionable or spammy apps. And if the spam continues, unfriend them.

Cheers,

Jason

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Little changes can make a difference. For instance, Twitter's decision to switch a star for a heart as its "Favorite" button increased use of the button by as much as 27.82 percent. And it's clear that despite Wall St. demanding that site grow faster and be easier for new users to grasp to have some hope of keeping up with competitors like Facebook and Snapchat, the site is still sweating the small stuff. Here are the four changes to the service announced this week: Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group. Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words! Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: We’ll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed. Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (That means you’ll no longer have to use the ”.@” convention, which people currently use to broadcast Tweets broadly.) If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly. These tweaks are in line with Twitter's tradition of paying attention to how people use the site and make it easier for them to do what early adopters are already doing. That's how we got hashtags, retweet buttons and @ replies. Now you'll be able to tweet a bit longer messages, something people do now with screenshots of text, and have more public conversations, something people do now by putting a "." before someone's @username so their whole feed sees the conversation not just people who happen to follow you and the user you're conversing with. Cool. These are useful little nudges that will keep people who already love the site engaged -- even though they may have some ugly unforeseen consequences. But will they transform Twitter and spark a new wave of growth? Not likely. What would without alienating the hundreds of millions of loyal users? Tough question and we'd like to know what you think. [polldaddy poll=9429603] Cheers, Jason [Image by dominiccampbell | Flickr]

May 26, 2016
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5 Ways to ‘Uncensor’ Your Facebook Feed

Allegations that Facebook "suppressed" conservative news, first reported by Gizmodo, quickly snowballed into broader charges that Facebook "censors" viewpoints its employees doesn't like. Facebook is the first access point to the internet for hundreds of millions if not a billion people around the world. And for millennials in the U.S., it is their primary source for political news. Some have suggested that the site could actually tilt the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Hence Facebook takes these allegations and the damage they've done to Facebook's image among conservatives seriously. Users will never be able to control the "Trending" section of the site, which Facebook insists is handled objectively as possible through curators (and, apparently, a lot of help from Google). But you do have some control over your news feed, which is generated by Facebook's algorithm "Edgerank." There are things you can do to influence your feed in hopes of seeing a diverse flow of information that doesn't simply confirm your biases. Here are 5: Get rid of the noise. Go to https://www.facebook.com/friends/organize and add the people you want to get less news from to your "acquaintances" list. You'll see their posts a lot less often and -- best of all -- they'll have no idea you've demoted them. Let Facebook do less of the picking for you. On the left column of your home page, under Favorites, next to News Feed click the arrow and select "Most Recent". This won't turn off Facebook's algorithm completely, but it will make it more likely you'll see a diversity of sources in your feed. Trust someone. Find a few people you respect who have a different political leanings than you and ask them for one Facebook page to follow. Just one? That's enough. Once you like the page, Facebook will help from there by suggesting a few pages with similar leanings. Of course, you're relying on Facebook's recommendations. But if you don't trust Facebook at all, this would be a good time to delete your account. Prioritize the new blood. Click on the down arrow in the upper right corner of any Facebook page and select "News Feed Preferences" and then select "Prioritize who to see first" and then on the dropdown menu select "Pages only." Now click on those new pages you just added to your stream -- along with the other valuable news sources you think help keep you informed. 5. Teach Facebook what you like. When you see something you like, click on it, comment on it, interact with it. Facebook exists to keep you in Facebook and will reward your clicks with similar content. And if you get a post you don't like, you can tell Facebook by clicking on that subtle little down arrow, which will show you this: Yes, you're sort of "censoring" your feed. But at least it's you doing it. Cheers, Jason [Image by Turinboy | Flickr]

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