Facebook users are trying to trick the News Feed algorithm

Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic
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Some time around early February, Facebook users started sharing a post claiming that, because of a new algorithm ranking, the company’s News Feed only surfaces content from about 25 or 26 of a user’s friends.

Facebook said that these claims are false, but users feel like they no longer control their feeds, and are trying to find workarounds.

Facebook pointed Quartz to Snopes, a fact-checking website. Snopes said information in the circulating post is “false,” and that Facebook said that the latest algorithm change would increase, and not limit, posts from friends and family. Snopes also said:

The truth is that no one seems to know exactly how Facebook’s algorithms work. Slate described the manner in which the social media network determines the order of content in any feed as “surprisingly inelegant, maddeningly mercurial, and stubbornly opaque.”

A spokesperson later also sent Quartz this statement:

“Friends don’t let friends copy and paste memes, and this one simply is not true. We rank News Feed based on how relevant each post might be to you, and while we’ve made some updates that could increase the number of posts you see from your friends, your News Feed isn’t limited to 25 of them.”

But it’s clear that people are noticing a change in their feeds, and they don’t like feeling that they cannot control what they see, or that they don’t know how the algorithm works. News publishers are similarly baffled, as are police departments and local governments.