The rumor about Facebook limiting the reach of posts to 25 friends has been belied by the social network itself. In a post on its official blog, the platform made a point of explaining that the current about a "new algorithm" that would make the content only 25 or 26 people fake. The rumor has been spreading through the network in Brazil and in other countries.
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The text has been circulating since 2017, being copied and pasted with minor changes. In addition to the number of friends, another common feature in the structure is the request for contacts to comment on the post, as this would "bypass the system" and cause the author's posts to start appearing beyond such 25 or 26 friends.
Facebook rumor limiting posts to 25 friends belied by social network Photo: Carolina Ochsendorf / dnetc
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The false warning is similar to Instagram, where a rumor claims that a change in the algorithm has restricted the reach of users' posts to 6% or 7% of viral followers also belied by the social photo network.
Regarding Facebook, the text about the alleged update in the code began in the United States, but since the beginning of the rumor it was possible to find publications of Brazilians with the same message. A quick search on the platform returns results in Portuguese from late 2017 and early 2018.
Early 2018 Post states that Facebook limits posts to 26 friends Photo: Playback / Facebook
The Facebook note makes it unclear whether the volume of posts with this rumor has grown in recent weeks, but the dnetc found recent posts with the message, which may have motivated the announcement. Like every current, it also asks readers to pass the message on, copying and pasting the text into their own feed.
Recent message sharing with rumor may have motivated Facebook to comment Photo: Reproduction / Facebook
What is really behind the post?
What is different about this rumor compared to many others circulating because it has a certain real background. Since 2015, Facebook has been prioritizing posts from close friends over pages and distant contacts.
Over time, the platform has made further updates to its algorithm to reinforce this measure, announced in 2016 and January 2018. In all of these situations, the company has ensured that the change was based on user feedback and aimed to provide more enjoyable experience on the social network, making posts from friends and family take up more space in the news feed.
Mark Zuckerberg's January 2018 post about moving to feed friends and family closer Photo: Playback / Facebook
To identify who are close friends, Facebook relies on interactions between people, including comments, likes, shares, and reactions. This is why users tend to see more or less the same people at the top of the news feed, which makes the rumor seem legitimate.
But I need to draw attention to a primary logical failure of the chain: if the algorithm really restricted the view of posts to 26 people, no one outside this circle would have access to the message. Consequently, it would have no effect to "bypass the system".
What can you really do to change the Facebook feed?
You can change what you see in your Facebook feed by the settings. To do this, on the desktop version of the social network, click the little arrow in the top right corner of the main page and select "News Feed Preferences".
In this window you can choose the 30 people and pages you would like to see first; unfollow people and groups; re-view people and groups you no longer follow; put friends, pages, and groups in snooze mode. You can also show apps you wish to hide through the "See more options" menu.
Facebook News Feed Preferences Settings Window Photo: Playback / Raquel Freire
Another way to change the feed content is to change the display system and set it to display "Latest". Note that this setting is not saved. By closing and reopening Facebook, the feed has returned to the "Top Stories" pattern. You must repeat the procedure whenever you want to scroll through the contents in chronological order.
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