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Amy Iverson: Are you only seeing posts from the same 25 Facebook friends?

Algorithm conspiracies aside, there are ways to diversify your News Feed

You may have seen the post from friends on Facebook. People are outraged that the social media network is allegedly using a new algorithm and only allowing users to see posts from the same 25 friends. Then the post urges folks to comment on it so it'll reappear in peoples' newsfeeds. Then the copy-and-paste plea comes in so that you, too, can have more interaction with all of your contacts.

This claim of Facebook hiding your friends’ posts from you, narrowing down your circle of friends to two dozen people has been going around for a couple of years now. Is it true? Facebook says absolutely not.

Earlier this month, the company released a statement about it. Ramya Sethuraman, a product manager who works on ranking for the company, said, “The idea that News Feed only shows you posts from a set number of friends is a myth.” He also said that if they did block content from users, no one would use the social network anymore.

Facebook allows you to choose which accounts' posts will show up at the top of your Timeline.
Facebook allows you to choose which accounts' posts will show up at the top of your Timeline.
Amy Iverson, Facebook

Facebook does put posts in our News Feed in the order it believes we would like to see them. It decides this based on how many other people or pages that we interact with have shared the content, and by noticing when we like or comment on certain types of content from specific people or pages.

If you often comment on posts of a certain friend, Facebook is more likely to place that friend’s content higher on your feed than posts from someone you never interact with. But even if you never engage with a person or page, you will eventually still see their content. You just need to keep scrolling.

Facebook says there are ways to have more control over what appears in our News Feeds. If there is someone whose content you know you always want to see, go to News Feed preferences by clicking the upside down triangle in the top right corner of any Facebook page. From there, you can prioritize whose posts you see first. Just select a person or page and any content from them will appear at the top of your News Feed. You can choose up to 30 people or pages to see first.

You can also click the three dots next to News Feed on the left side of the screen and choose Most Recent instead of Top Stories to change the order other people’s posts appear in your feed.

A similar post has been popping up on Instagram that says, “Instagram has changed its algorithm for creators so only seven percent of followers see our posts.” It asks you to like and comment so you can start seeing posts from that person again. The problem here is that if you are seeing that post, then you are obviously seeing posts from that person. Duh. An Instagram spokesperson spoke to NY Mag debunking the claim.

This posts making the rounds on Instagram claims the company is hiding our posts from followers.
This posts making the rounds on Instagram claims the company is hiding our posts from followers.
Amy Iverson, Instagram

“This is false — we do not hide posts from your followers,” they said.

Like with Facebook, it is true that the more you interact with certain accounts, the more likely you’ll be to see posts from those accounts before other posts.

If you’re worried your followers aren’t seeing all of your posts near the tops of their feeds, Lilo Social, a creative social media agency, has explained there are some factors to consider. Posting time and followers’ interests come into play, but more interestingly, Lilo Social stresses the importance of engagement. Yes, if a follower likes, comments or shares one of your posts, it is more likely that your future posts will pop up near the tops of their feeds. But you need to engage with that follower’s content as well. So don’t hold back from liking, sharing and commenting on your followers’ posts that play well with the types of things you share.

Snapchat also uses an algorithm in its stories. The company says the formula makes it easier to find the friends you want to talk to, seeing posts from your best friends first, not all posts in chronological order.

And Twitter gives you the choice of how to view your timeline. Go into your account settings and look under Content. You can decide to tell Twitter to “Show the best Tweets first.″ If you check the box, the company says tweets you are likely to care about most will show up first in your timeline. Twitter chooses these posts based on your interaction with those accounts.

While all of these social media networks say there is no post-hiding going on, you may indeed need to scroll for longer than you’d like to see all the available content. Remember to engage with those people and brands you love so they’ll show up first in all your feeds with no copying and pasting necessary.