Family

Facebook wasn’t broke, but they fixed it anyway.

World map showing Facebook connections

Planet Facebook or Planet Earth? by Paul Butler (CC BY 2.0)

I have been happily chugging along thinking all is well until yesterday when I realized that one of my younger son’s Facebook posts had not shown up on my news feed. I only discovered it because a mutual friend had commented on the post, and that did show upSo, I started to wonder what was going on.  Had my son chosen to exclude me from reading this post? Did he have a mom-free category for Facebook posts? Have I said or done something to upset him so much that he de-friended me? I was starting to feel hurt, until I decided to ask him.

No, he wasn’t trying to exclude me. Phew. Big relief. Then, what was going on? He suggested that perhaps he wasn’t prioritized in my friends list. Wow. I had no idea that it was possible to prioritize friends on Facebook.  My son showed me how to find News Feed Preferences and then the “Prioritize who to see first” selection. I was horrified.

I discovered that some nameless bot or algorithm had already determined that about ten people should be seen first on my newsfeed and had identified them with a star. Wait just a doggone minute! Who gave them the right to do that? Not me. I agree that those people are important to me, but still . . .  Not cool, Facebook. When did this system come into place, and why didn’t I know about it? More importantly, who thought this was a good idea?

And then, as I scrolled down my list of friends and saw all their lovely faces, I was confronted the horrible dilemma of who to include on the “see first” list. It’s a Sophie’s Choice kind of thing and excruciatingly difficult.  I wanted to “select all” but that wasn’t an option.  The alternative would have been to “select none” but that wasn’t an option, either. I started to add stars to the photographs of all my friends and family as I worked down the list, but it was taking too long, so I stopped.

In any case, all of this was distracting from my original purpose in trying to figure out why my son’s posts weren’t on my news feed.  His photo had been starred by the bot already, so that wasn’t the problem.  I started to look at other settings and realized it had become a Byzantine multi-layered process of choices, some of which I didn’t fully understand.  Facebook, it wasn’t broke but you fixed it anyway. Well done.

While I love being able to pay my bills online, and I can tolerate Google knowing more about me than I do myself, I really don’t like Facebook deciding which of my friends’ posts I should see first.  That is a bridge too far.

If anyone knows why my son’s posts aren’t showing up on my newsfeed, please tell me. Then tell Facebook that I love them but they are now very low on my “see first” list, which is probably why they aren’t getting my news, in case they were wondering.

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4 replies »

  1. That’s interesting. I just checked my list and there is no one with a star. Maybe FB picks and chooses who they like to irritate!

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