Facebook feed

A while back, I got fed up with the Facebook algorithm deciding what it wanted me to see, rather than just showing all friend postings in reverse chronological order.

So I looked for a solution, and I think I found one which I have been using for some time. Of course I can’t be 100% sure that it totally works – you don’t know what you don’t know, so I could still be missing posts – but at least I am getting things in order.

Someone asked how I did this, so I thought I would put it up here rather than trying to explain in a Facebook comment.

What I did was to create a Friend list containing ALL of my friends, and I now look at that all the time, rather than at the default feed.

So how to set this up?

  1. In the left hand navigation of Facebook, select Friend lists, in the ‘Explore’ group.
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  2. This will take you to a page headed Friends, which will probably already have a few lists created by Facebook – e.g. for every company you’ve ever worked for.
  3. At the top of the Friend lists page, click the Create List button.
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  4. Give the new list a name (e.g. ‘All friends’) and click Create (ignore the Members field).
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  5. This will take you to the page for that list.
  6. Click the Add Friends to List button.
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  7. Click on all the Friends you want to add to the list (unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a ‘Select all’ button). You can also use the dropdown at the top left to add Pages, though not Groups.
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  8. Click the Finish button. It may initially look like nothing has happened, but if you give it a minute (and maybe refresh the page) you will now see the most recent posts for everyone on the list.

I then saved the direct link to the list (www.facebook.com/lists/[string of numbers]) as a bookmark, and I go to that page rather than www.facebook.com.

To add (or remove) people from the list, just click on the Manage list button in the top right, and select Edit List. This will give you a popup showing everyone in the list – if you want to add more friends, remember to click the dropdown at the top left and switch from ‘On this list’ to ‘Friends’.
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Advantages to this:

  • You see friend posts in reverse chronological order.
  • You don’t get ‘Sponsored’ posts appearing in your feed.

Disadvantages:

  • See above – I can’t be 100% certain it’s not missing out some things.
  • It no longer works on the Facebook Android app (and was a bit flakey even when it did). My solution is to use the app for notifications, but if I just want to scroll through the feed I have it bookmarked in the browser on my phone. Or I just don’t bother until I am at a computer.
  • If you accept a friend request, or a request you sent is accepted, you have to remember to add that person to the list, which can be a bit clunky.
  • You see what people post on their own timelines, but not what other people post there, or photos they are tagged in. For the most part I am fine with this, although it does mean that, in the case of a friend who has passed away, I don’t see people posting to his timeline on his birthday.

Even though that is quite a few disadvantages (and there may be others I’m not thinking of, because I’m now so used to doing things this way), for me they are outweighed by the two key advantages. YMMV.

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