Don’t fall for the hoax: Facebook isn’t restricting your News Feed to 25 friends

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

caption
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
source
REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Pool

  • There’s a viral Facebook post making the rounds that claims the News Feed is restricting what you see to just 25 friends.
  • Spoiler alert: It’s just not true.

No, Facebook is not restricting the content you see on your News Feed to just 25 or 26 friends.

Over the last few months, a hoax has been making the rounds on the social network. It claims, in essence, that Facebook has implemented an algorithm change that means you will only see posts from a select few of your friends. Anyone else is flat out of luck.

The hoax encourages users to combat this by copying and pasting a faux-informative message about the “change” – and then asking users’ friends to reply to the post.

Here’s one example Business Insider has seen (the wording often varies slightly):

Hello Friends – I’m jumping on the bandwagon too….Fighting this Facebook algorithm change, because I’m noticing I am not seeing so many of my friends posts. Here is how to avoid hearing from the same 26 FB friends and nobody else. This post explains why we don’t see all posts from our friends. Funny, I thought if I followed you on Facebook I would see what you post. Not anymore…..

Your newsfeed recently shows only posts from the same few people, about 25, repeatedly the same, because Facebook has a new algorithm….

Their system chooses the people who will read your posts. However I would like to choose for myself, therefore, I ask you all a favor- if you are reading this message leave me a quick comment, a “hey” or sticker, whatever you want, so you will appear in my newsfeed please!

Otherwise Facebook chooses who to show me and I don’t need Facebook to choose my friends. Please copy and paste on your wall so you can have more interaction with all your contacts and bypass the system. That’s why we don’t see all posts from our friends.

Hold your finger down anywhere on this post and “copy” will pop up. Click “copy”. Then go to your page, start a new post on your page, then put your finger anywhere in the blank field. “Paste” will pop up and click on it to paste. Thank you all!

Variations of this hoax have been circulating since at least February 2018, and Facebook comprehensively debunked it at the time. But that clearly didn’t halt its spread.

The problem is that by the time a fooled user realizes it’s total hookum, it’s too late – they’ve already copy-pasted it, sharing it with their friends, allowing it to keep going viral across the social network.

That said, there is an extremely convoluted and twisted kernel of truth in here – Facebook’s algorithm does make judgement about which of your friends it thinks you want to see content from, and then prioritizes them in your News Feed. And engaging with these friends’ posts (and them engaging with your posts) will make them appear more frequently.

If you feel you are seeing only a limited number of posts from a limited number of people, there is a tried-and-true trick that will give you a different view of your News Feed: have it show you the “Most Recent” posts rather than its default, “Top Stories.”

To do this on the desktop click on “News Feed” in the left-hand column and then on “Most Recent.”

This view of the News Feed is harder to find on the mobile app. First click on the “three lines” symbol (next to the notifications bell symbol). Then click on “See More” then on “Most Recent.”

But the “facts” this hoax claims, and its purported fix? Dead wrong.

Do you work at Facebook? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at rprice@businessinsider.com, WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at@robaeprice . You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

See also: