I Stopped Liking on Facebook Two Years Ago: Here’s What Happened
I Stopped Liking on Facebook, and If You Hate Newsfeed Ads, So Should You
Facebook relies heavily on users’ “Likes” to select targeted advertising to be included in each Facebook user’s News Feed. The advertising algorithm not only takes your own “Likes” into account, but those of your Facebook friends. By now all Facebook users have surely seen at least one of those News Feed ads for some product or service the user him- or herself never “Liked”, and in fact may never have even heard of, but it’s there in the News Feed with, “[Facebook friend name] Likes [business or product name]”.
However, the algorithm isn’t just focused on products and businesses people are Liking. Let’s say your Facebook friend posts about her pregnancy and you Like that post; Facebook’s algorithm adds things like pregnancy, baby and women’s products/services to its list of ads to be targeted to you. Another friend posts about his cruise to Mexico and you Like it; Facebook’s algorithm adds things like travel, cruises, Mexican food and tropical vacations to its list of marketing to be targeted to you.
I Haven’t Liked Anything Since September of 2014
I’ve given up ‘Liking’, and now the only types of ads I ever see in my News Feed are the occasional “[Facebook friend name] Likes [business or product name]” types—and by “occasional” I’m talking once to a few times a month at most), and the much rarer instances where a Facebook friend directly markets to his or her Facebook friends.
Now, when I click over to my News Feed I get exactly what I think most of us want to see there: updates from my Facebook friends and the Pages I follow (where I’ve also requested Notifications from those Pages). My News Feed is no longer a time-wasting chore of scrolling past all the ads and “targeted” posts to get to the things I really want to see.
Note: it’s also important to regularly check your News Feed sort, as Facebook likes to keep it set to the default, marketing-friendly “Top Stories” sort. Even if you’ve changed it to “Most Recent” yourself, you have to check it every week or so to make sure Facebook hasn’t changed it back.
What If You WANT To Like?
I still want to Like things, to show friends my interest or support, but now I channel that impulse into commenting. I think it can be a more meaningful kind of communication, and it keeps me honest in the sense that I’m no longer just reflexively Liking anything and everything my Facebook friends share.
Comments don’t seem to feed into the advertising algorithm the same way Likes do, and that makes sense. After all, you could be commenting on your friend’s Mexican cruise post to say you had a trip on the same cruise line and hated it. It’s not safe for Facebook to assume a comment is a sign of interest or approval.
If you’re fed up with Facebook News Feed marketing clutter, stop Liking and start commenting instead!
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April L. Hamilton is the Digital Media Mom. She's also the founder and Editor in Chief of LoveMyEcho.com. She writes books, articles and code, shops at the Jedi Knight level, and is making the transition to an all digital-media household. She's always on the lookout for tech that saves money and solves problems for regular people, and has a thing or two to say about all kinds of entertainment media. That's what this site is all about.