Breaking the Facebook Algo?

It has been a busy last few weeks for Facebook when it comes to transparency — something it completely expects from its users but not from the .com itself. Releasing a double whammy by 1) admitting there is the existence of a Newsfeed algorithm and 2) announcing they are changing this mythical digital creature to better serve the user content they want (need) to see.

Great. We’re thrilled and so are marketers with the blurry promise of:

5% increase in the number of likes, comments and shares on the organic stories people saw from friends and an 8% increase in likes, comments and shares on the organic stories they saw from Pages.

Over the last 45 days I have been proactively swatting uninteresting “things” out of my Newsfeed as I felt junk was taking over — I’m not a serial LIKER or SHARER therefore the Zuckerberg had a complete crap shoot what to deliver into my feed.

After a week of daily cleanup, I did begin to notice changes. Some days would be an influx of friend activity promoting other social apps plugged into Facebook (Vines, Nike+ and so liked _____ Instagram photos) and other days I would only be served 4-5 friend updates from 6+ hours prior and maybe brands pages. When these instances occurred, I could pull up Facebook either inside the iOS app or desktop and see the same content the entire day. Cool?

Since August 15th I have stopped nuking all undesirable feed content, sidebar ads, suggested friends, pages, etc. and things are still quite stagnant delivering only 4-5 friends updates and maybe 3 LIKED pages. In fact, I think the sidebar has even given up:

No cropping, this is all the sidebar has been serving for over a week (with different ads and new people of course) but the limited delivery stayed the same

My Newsfeed is still going through an identity crisis by being locked on 4-5 friends and consistently showing only AdFreak, Top Gear BBC, Make Use Of, Forza, NPR, Breaking Bad, Food Republic, Conan O’Brien and NFL. And I LIKE more than 250+ pages…

As a whole, this experiment is horribly boring to anyone else but as a social media professional, it goes to show it doesn’t take much work by the user for a brand/business page completely drop out of someone’s feed organically and never be seen again (theoretically if your content is lackluster or you have no budget).

Conclusion and forever reinforcing that Facebook is “free” but there is nothing FREE about this “social feed economy.” Either you’re IN or you’re out.