The news about Facebook is bad right now. The company permits bad behavior by prominent accounts, facilitates illegal activity, and helps teen girls feel awful about themselves. Also, it’s jiggering the News Feed algorithm so that users see positive stories about Facebook (whatever) and so that your racist uncle’s posts keep showing up at the top, as long as you keep arguing in the comments.
Still, we’re all on Facebook every day. Just a few minutes ago I posted a picture to Instagram (owned by Facebook) that will automatically share to my Facebook profile. I will most definitely go look for notifications related to that picture later today. While there I will scroll through the News Feed.
Here’s what I’ve done with the News Feed, though: unfollowed you. And you. And you. I have unfollowed every one of my Facebook friends except my wife and every group or page except my church. If I’m seeing you in my Facebook feed, it’s because you’re married to me or you employ me.
This is no judgment of your posts and links and photos. It’s a judgment of the News Feed. Knowing that it’s driven by an algorithm to show me things the site thinks will drive my continued engagement makes me want no part of it. I still look for you, though. We’re still friends, so I can still see your page, and sometimes I go look at it to see what you’re up to. I just don’t trust the algorithm to serve it to me beneath my high school classmate’s anti-vaccination rant.
I want social media to work for me, not the other way around.