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The groan heard 'round the world: Facebook changes feed again

February 4, 2016

Facebook announced this week that it's now going to use "qualitative feedback" to determine what stories appear in your feed. 

 

I'm torn on this .... There's the personal FB user in me that's honked off. There's the content FB user in me that's even more honked off.  There's the tech geek in me that's enthralled with seeing if Facebook can psychoanalyze us that much. And the research nerd in me is always skeptical of anyone who thinks they can translate qualitative analysis into an objective formula.  

 

 

The goal of showing us more of what we want to see is a good one. But why does Facebook need a program to decide that?
 

Let me be blunt: Facebook, I've already decided what I want to see by what I follow and whom I friend. If I follow the Daily Herald, I want to see its posts. I don't need you to determine whether I want to or not because of how I interact with them. 

 

I want to follow my competitors. I want to see their content high in my feed. But I don't want to like, comment or share. Same with some odd family members. I like FB to inform me even though I really don't want to engage.

 

(And PS: When I say "most recent" in my feed, I mean the most recent posted. Not the most recent post someone in the Facebookverse decided to like.) 

 

From a business standpoint, Facebook doesn't give us content marketers a lot of clues about what we should or should not be doing with this new feed.

 

They do encourage us to avoid trying to generate cheap clicks and likes, which I applaud.

 

Their blog announcing the post says "In general this update should not impact reach or referral traffic meaningfully for the majority of Pages; however, some Pages may see some increases in referral traffic, and some Pages may see some declines in referral traffic. Pages might see some declines in referral traffic if the rate at which their stories are clicked on does not match how much people report wanting to see those stories near the top of their News Feed. This update helps rebalance those two factors, so people are seeing relevant stories to them."

 

Huh? So even if people engage with my content I'm out if they don't report that they love me in a survey?

 

What's also not clear is the construction of the survey, who is going to get it and the degree it might affect feeds of people who aren't surveyed.

 

I'm all for quality of content. I never encourage anyone to try to game the system with cheap or misleading posts. But isn't Facebook working too hard to game its own system?

 

Facebook used to be a nice place that I'd go to keep up on my friends, family, news and companies I liked. And vent about traffic or share pictures of every meal I ate.

 

Now it's a minefield of settings, goofy feeds, sponsored posts and those irritating games.

 

Doesn't it make just talking to people again seem like less work?

 

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