What the Tech: Viral Facebook post hoax
by: Jamey Tucker
Posted: Aug 6, 2020 / 06:02 PM CDT
/ Updated: Aug 6, 2020 / 10:27 PM CDT
A viral Facebook post is making the rounds again and cluttering everyone’s newsfeed. The post claims by copying and pasting it onto your own timeline and by commenting, liking or leaving a sticker on the friend’s post, it will trick Facebook’s algorithm into showing you posts of more friends. Here’s one variation of the post:
“So I’m doing what everyone else is doing. Fixing my blocked posts. I wondered where everybody had been! This is good to know. It’s ridiculous to have 578 friends and only 25 are allowed to see posts. I ignored the post earlier because I didn’t think it worked. It WORKS!! I have a whole new news feed. I’m seeing posts from people I haven’t seen in years. ” Does it work? No. Well…in a way, I suppose it does.
Contrary to what the post claims, Facebook does not limit the number of friends whose posts show up on your newsfeed. Its algorithm does place some friend’s posts higher than others based on friends you’ve interacted with the most. It also places posts of friends who have friends or interests in common.
This is to prevent posts from groups, pages, and friends you never interact with from clogging up your feed.
You can have some control of who you see the most. It’s easier to make these changes on a computer than it is on a mobile device.
Go to settings and look for newsfeed preferences. There you’ll see your friends and those you follow. It also displays friends you’ve chosen to see posts first by placing a blue star next to their name and profile photo. You can manage the list by removing and adding blue stars. Facebook does limit the number of friends here to 30, which may be where the number comes from in the viral post.
If you want to see the most recent posts in your newsfeed, look for “newsfeed options” and click or tap “most recent. ” Note though that this reverts back to “top posts” later.
The viral post making the rounds now first appeared at least 3 years ago and seems to go around every now and then when a few friends decide to post and share it again.
It is not a scam and the post does not steal your information, data or friends list. It is a hoax, again sort of. Whether you post it or not will likely not change who you see in your newsfeed. By commenting or leaving a like or sticker, it will ensure you see more of their posts. But you were seeing them anyway.
No, Your News Feed Is Not Limited to Posts From 26 Friends
Copy-and-paste memes — those blocks of text posted on message boards, forwarded in emails and shared via social media — are as old as the internet. A recent example started popping up in late 2017 and continues to see the occasional bump in shares. This meme claims that Facebook’s “new algorithm” is limiting the number of people whose posts show up in your News Feed, usually pegging the number at just 25 or 26 people. Readers are directed to comment on the post, which will supposedly “bypass the system” so that their posts show up in the future, and then copy and paste the text on their own Feeds.
Here’s one example of the meme, debunked by the Washington Post:
How to avoid hearing from the same 26 FB friends and nobody else:
Here is a post explaining why we don’t see all posts from our friends….
News feed 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 to read Your post. However, I would like to choose for myself, Therefore, I ask you a favor: if you read this message leave me a quick comment, a “hello”, a sticker, whatever you want, so you will appear in my news feed.
Don’t just “Like”, Facebook requires a “Comment”. Even one word! Thanks!!!
Otherwise Facebook chooses who to show me and instead I don’t need facebook to choose my friends!
Do not hesitate to 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!
Though multiple publications have debunked this meme, it continues to persist. So, to clear things up: No, Facebook does not set a limit on the number of people whose posts are shown in your News Feed.
“The idea that News Feed only shows you posts from a set number of friends is a myth, ” says Ramya Sethuraman, a product manager who works on ranking. “The goal of News Feed is to show you the posts that matter to you so that you have an enjoyable experience. If we somehow blocked you from seeing content from everyone but a small set of your friends, odds are you wouldn’t return. ”
However, the persistence of the “26 friends” myth is understandable.
That’s because the posts in your News Feed are ranked in the order we believe you’ll be most interested in seeing them. (You can learn more about ranking in this short video. ) The News Feed algorithms prioritize posts that are predicted to spark conversations among people, whether because of format — for example, live videos tend to lead to more discussions than regular videos — or because the posts were shared by people, groups or Pages you interact with frequently.
Because of this, it’s possible that you’ll see content from a similar list of posters at the top of your News Feed, which can make the “26 friends” idea seem plausible. If you scroll down, though, you’re likely to see posts from an even wider group of people.
Similarly, while leaving a single comment on a post won’t suddenly “unblock” you from showing up in your friends’ Feed (because there’s no arbitrary limit in the first place), there’s a grain of truth here, too. If you frequently trade comments with a friend, their posts are likely to be shown higher in your News Feed than posts from someone you never interact with.
If you want to control what you see in your News Feed, there are more straightforward ways to do it than by sharing memes. Because we know we don’t always get it right, we’ve built and are continuing to build new controls so that people can directly tell us what they want to prioritize, take a break from or get rid of. If you want to make sure you see everything from a certain person, you can use the See First feature to put that person’s posts at the top of your Feed. If you’ve heard too much from someone, you can Unfollow them. If you just want to take a break from someone, the Snooze feature removes them from your News Feed for 30 days.
Facebook Copy-and-Paste Posts Promising to ‘Bypass,’ ‘Reset …
Facebook copy-and-paste scams are back, as are the fake friend requests.
Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images
Amid near-constant scrutiny for its content-review policy and data-sharing practices, Facebook has also been plagued with another problem—spam posts. An old scam/hoax has become new again as copy-and-paste posts go viral once more. The scam is about “bypassing” or “resetting” Facebook in order to see more friends in your posts, like many other Facebook scams, ask that users copy and paste the post into their newsfeeds. It reads: “Thanks for the tips to bypass FB y’all. I have a whole new news feed. I’m seeing posts from people I haven’t seen in years. Here’s how to bypass the system FB now has in place that limits posts on your news feed. “Ignoring the fact that Facebook’s algorithm generally shows those you interact with most frequently as the ones you’ll see most often in your news feed, the post continues: “Their new algorithm chooses the same few people – about 25 – who will read your posts. Therefore, Hold your finger down anywhere in this post and ‘copy’ will pop up. Click ‘copy’. Then go to your page, start a new post and put your finger anywhere in the blank field. ‘Paste’ will pop up and click paste. This will bypass the system. “Other cut-and-paste scams read in a similar way. “Hi new and old friends! Fixed my blocked posts I wondered where everybody had been! This is good to know: It’s ridiculous friends and only 25 are allowed to see my post, ” another post reads. “I ignored this post earlier, because I didn’t think it worked. It WORKS!! I have a whole new news feed. ” The post continues with instructions of how to copy and paste into your newsfeed to “bypass Facebook. “Newsweek reached out to Facebook for comment on the spam posts, but Facebook did not immediately cording to the fact-checking site Snopes, the copy and paste Facebook hoax started last year. Some posts, the Snopes notes, Facebook limits your feed 26 people, while say 25. Facebook did switch its algorithm this year, but the change actually allowed more of your friends show up in your newsfeed at the expense of pages you follow. “With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed, ” Facebook said in an announcement on January 11. “These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to. “We will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content, consistent with our News Feed values, ” Facebook’s statement posts, photos and more on Facebook.
Earlier this year, another old Facebook scam resurfaced—the fake Facebook friend request. Similar to the copy and paste posts, they were nothing more than spam posts filling up your newsfeed.