Think your Facebook feed has been acting wonky lately? You’re not alone.
The changes have actually been made by Facebook and they didn’t even tell you about it.
If you’ve logged into Facebook recently, as almost 2 billion people around the world do each day, you may have noticed something new in your feed: more strangers. Last week, the social-media giant introduced two new different versions of your Facebook feed. While the familiar main page, formerly known as the News Feed, used to be where family, friends, and other accounts you follow have long shared humblebrags, dubious headlines, and slices of everyday life, the new Home page combines those things with posts from strangers it suggests based on your past Facebook activity. When I logged on last week, that meant a video of a man rescuing a sloth from the road and a screenshot of a meme from Twitter about introverts.
A separate new tab, Feeds, will show you only the people you’ve chosen to follow. But with Home, Meta—the parent company of Facebook and Instagram—is clearly steering its users to an experience that emphasizes posts from pages and people you don’t know: viral content selected by an algorithm for maximum entertainment value and slack-jawed viewing time. In other words, Facebook now wants to be TikTok.
TikTok is a short-form video platform that became famous for viral dances performed by the likes of fresh-faced tweens and teens whose queen was Charli D’Amelio. (Part of that DNA comes from Musical.ly, a lip-synching app that TikTok swallowed up in 2018.) But it truly exploded in the early days of the pandemic, when much of life moved online. Last fall, the app hit 1 billion active users. An estimated 25 percent of TikTok’s users in the U.S. are 10-to-19-years old—a demographic that Meta is hoping to win back.
As do so many people, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.
I love that it keeps me in contact with so many people whom I would otherwise know nothing about, including friends in the hometown from which I escaped when I turned 19.
I hate how it keeps illustrating to me how many people I thought had normal, fully functioning intellects clearly do not have two brain cells to rub together.
My block list is now over 2,500 people.
I’ve found Facebook to be tolerable only if I can block anyone who exhibits any number of annoying traits, most of which have nothing to do with their politics.
Meanwhile, I have a passion for dogs, so I’m sure I annoy countless people because I primarily use Facebook to post dog videos.
I use this space to post about politics.
Anyway, we’ll see if these Facebook changes make it more or less enjoyable.