Every so often, I’ll see a few friends all posting the same message as their Facebook status. Sometimes it’s a post claiming to “fix the algorithm”, so that you see more posts from your friends and family instead of all the adverts (which would be nice, wouldn’t it). A few years back there was one written in vague “legalese” saying that Facebook did not have your permission to use or keep any photos that you posted to your account.
Exactly what the message claims to do to your account or your Facebook feed will vary, but the thing is, it’s all complete nonsense. Copying and pasting a message to your Facebook page won’t make any difference to your settings or your feed. Mark Zuckerberg isn’t going to read it, the web developers at Facebook aren’t going to read it – it doesn’t do any harm, but it is a bit pointless.
So what will make a difference, I hear you ask?
Well, Facebook’s algorithm does pick up on subjects and keywords in the posts that you interact with. So if you react to or comment on posts about politics quite often, Facebook will show you more posts or articles about the government. If you’ve clicked on an article about Strictly Come Dancing, or a cricket match, you can expect to see more about Strictly or cricket on your feed.
The trouble is, if you clicked on something by accident, or if you were only vaguely intrigued by it, you don’t want loads of posts about something irrelevant cluttering up your feed. I often see comments from people saying “Enough already, I’m fed up of hearing about this”, which I completely understand.
However, leaving that comment has the exact opposite effect. No-one at Facebook will see that comment and think “Hmm, maybe I should stop suggesting posts about this”. The dreaded algorithm will only see that you’ve interacted with a post about Joe Bloggs, and will assume that you’re interested in him, so it’ll start showing you more about Mr Bloggs.
So if you see a post you aren’t interested in, the best thing to do is to click or tap on the cross in the top right of the post. This isn’t to say that you can’t leave a negative comment or criticise something you don’t agree with – just be aware that interacting with it will lead to you seeing more about it.