Facebook News Feed Findings

Using Facebook’s new preferences settings, I break down what I saw in my feed.

I was excited to learn that Facebook had announced updated preference settings to give its users more control over what they saw. In the quest to “connect with the people and things you care about the most,” Mark Zuckerberg proudly declares this new tool “another step in that direction.”

When I dove into the preferences panel, I saw that the settings included the advertised tools to help me fine-tune my feed. What interested me the most, though, was that Facebook included some basic analytics about what I had been seeing in my feed.

Curious to find out what it meant, I started doing some math. I scrolled backwards through the “Seen Most Last Week” section as far as Facebook would let me go, and began adding the number of posts that I had seen. At the end of the list, there was a string of several posters who I had only seen one post from, so I’m assuming this means Facebook didn’t leave any out.

Week 1

I found that I had seen a total of 512 posts throughout the past week. After I found the total number of posts, I went through again and tallied the number of page posts. I included both brand and personality pages in this number — anything that wasn’t a friend. The breakdown for those 512 posts is: 322 page posts and 190 friend posts.

Therefore, 62.9% of my news feed during the previous week on Facebook was content from brand and personality pages.

I also found that my top eight most seen posters were pages. Their combined 208 posts made up 40.6% of my feed. Let me say that again. Eight pages on Facebook made up almost half of my previous week’s news feed.

I don’t want to mislead you, so let me give you a little bit more information: I have 555 friends and like 179 pages on Facebook. So of the total 734 posters that can enter my news feed, only 24.4% are brands or personalities.

Seems a little off, doesn’t it? Well… Here’s to the new preference settings so I can get back to connecting with the people and things I care about most!

Week 2

In the interest of being thorough, I checked back a week later to analyze my feed again. I wanted to make sure my findings in Week 1 weren’t outliers and that it was a true indication of what was generally in my feed. Without further ado, Week 2.

In Week 2, I saw a total of 1,267 posts. Admittedly, I used Facebook a little bit more this past week purely out of curiosity. What would happen if I used it more? Would I see more posts from friends? Would the disparity level off?

Apparently not. Facebook aggressively boosted the amount of page posts it fed me: 902 page posts, and 365 friend posts. This calculates to 71.2% of my news feed content being from brand and personality pages — an increase of nearly ten percent from the previous week.

The top eight posters were again pages, and I saw 521 posts from them. The percentage there is comparable to the previous week: 41.1%. However, in contrast to last week, my top 18 posters were pages. And that upper echelon of brand and personality pages contributed 746 posts, making up 58.9% of my feed.

It showed, too. I hadn’t thought to do this beforehand, but I decided to count the number of page posts in a row that I saw in my feed after noticing a lack of friend posts. On that given occasion, I counted 49 posts from pages in a row.

I should say, too, that my page info changed, but not to the degree that these numbers would lead you to believe. Updated friend count and pages liked: 554 friends, 181 pages liked.

Although I want to do something about this now, my curiosity is getting the better of me. I will wait one more week to see what those results are, then compile them in some nice, neat graphs. Then? Then I’m going to use some newfound knowledge from Mat Honan and Elan Morgan to mold Facebook into what I want it to be.

I’m curious to know your breakdowns. Jump into Facebook’s settings and reply with your findings!