Facebookery: Now You Can Customize Your Facebook News Feed – Sort Of

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What Do We Want?
The ability to specify what shows up in our Facebook News Feed!

When Do Want It?
We have ALWAYS wanted it, and in fact we have ALWAYS thought this is how it should work by default.

 

 

Facebook’s New News Feed Preferences Tools
Yes, Facebook is finally giving you the power to specify whose shares, posts and updates, whether from humans or fan pages, show up first in your News Feed on the Facebook home page. Sort of. Read on for full details.

The changes were added to the iOS mobile app first, last month, and are now being rolled out to Facebook website users in groups.

Don’t get too excited though, because this new feature probably isn’t quite what you were hoping for.

Note that this post is only applicable to the full Facebook site that runs in a browser, not the mobile apps.

 

No, they don’t make it easy.
Here’s how to change your News Feed preferences.

1. Click the downward-pointing arrow in the top menu ribbon (may be at the far right, as below, or the far left, next to your user icon), and select News Feed Preferences (tap or click on images in this post to view an enlarged version in a new tab or window).

Note that the “Use Facebook as:” section is grayed out for privacy purposes; I don’t have a bunch of fake Facebook profiles or anything like that, but I do administer several fan pages and details of those are listed in the hidden section.

 

2. On the pop-up window that loads, select Prioritize who to see first. The other two items here are just shortcuts to the existing unfollow and re-follow functions.

 

3. Now scroll through the non-alphabetized, non-searchable, non-sortable list of every person you’ve ever friended or followed, and every Fan Page you’ve ever liked and click on those you want to “see first” in your News Feed. Click Done when you’re done.

The only possible pattern I could see here was that any pages you own or administer are listed first, followed initially by the friends or pages you interact with the most—which is kind of stupid, because those posts/updates/shares are already showing up more often in your News Feed based on Facebook’s existing “organic reach” formula.

Beyond that first, small group of frequent interaction people and pages, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the order. This makes it impossible to quickly find the people and pages you’re looking for, you have no choice but to scroll through ALL of them. For people with a lot of friends, follows or page likes, this is going to take a while.

Click on the icons for those you want to “see first” in your News Feed. Note that I’ve put gray boxes over the icons for privacy.

 

No, this does not actually guarantee you will see every share, post and update from your specified list. It does seem to weight that content more heavily, making it more likely you’ll see it than before, but that’s all.

Since making some changes here myself, there have definitely been times when one of my ‘show first’ picks shared something and it didn’t show up in my News Feed immediately, or even at all. Maybe I’m seeing their stuff more often, but it’s so hard to tell.

I can tell you this, though: ever since I expressed preferences this way the number of ads in my News Feed dramatically increased, and I started seeing lots of updates from people and pages with whom I rarely interact. Either specifying News Feed preferences doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, or else it works exactly the way it’s supposed to. Which do you suppose I think it is?

Once I was satisfied that changing my News Feed preferences not only didn’t give me the results I wanted, but actually junked up my News Feed with more stuff I don’t want to see, I went back and un-selected all my News Feed preferences.

 

Hey, what did you expect? It’s still Facebook, after all.

 

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