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Here's What the Facebook Newsfeed Showed Me After My 2-Week Hiatus

Posted 09 December, 2014

Heres_What_the_Facebook_Newsfeed_Showed_Me_After_My_2-Week_Hiatus-lsfacebook newsfeed experimentI recently did something crazy!..

I went 14 days without looking at the Facebook newsfeed.

And it wasn't that hard!... because I was on vacation with my family most of that time.

I removed the Facebook mobile app from my phone as we drove to Disney World during a 10-day vacation. And I didn't have time to use my laptop since I was busy rubbing elbows with Buzz Lightyear!

Once home, I didn't access the newsfeed for 4 more days.

My 2-week experiment depended on it! I wanted to see what posts showed up after going that long with no activity.

The only things I did on Facebook during those 2 weeks were:

  • Interact with posts for which I received notifications
    (mostly from pages & groups)
  • Interact in Facebook groups
    (using the new Facebook Groups app to visit groups directly)
  • Work on pages I manage
    (using the Facebook Pages Manager app)

In this blogpost, I'll analyze the posts that appeared in my newsfeed when I returned from my 2-week hiatus -- both in the "Top Stories" and "Most Recent" parts of the feed.

I looked for ads, friends & followers, and activity from lists. Here's what I found.

>> Click to Tweet <<

Here's What the Facebook Newsfeed Showed Me After My 2-Week Hiatus

I almost always have my newsfeed set to "Most Recent" -- whether I'm using Facebook on my phone or computer.

That provides the most up-to-date posts from the profiles & pages I want to see.

When I returned to the newsfeed after my 2-week break, I kept track of the first 100 stories I saw in the "Top Stories" and "Most Recent" parts of the feed.

Top Stories

I don't have the dates, but here's a breakdown of the first 100 posts in the "Top Stories" part of the feed:


Yes, most of the posts were from friends.

I actually thought that was a mistake, so I checked the newsfeed a few minutes later. Guess what? Same results!

Only 9 posts came from pages I'd Liked.

That's less than 10 percent of the posts coming from business pages. And there were no posts from people or Interest Lists I follow!

Most Recent

I created a similar chart for the first 100 posts from the "Most Recent" part of the newsfeed:


Most of these posts came from groups. About a third came from pages I Liked.

There were no posts from the people & Interest Lists I follow. And the number of ads was about the same as the "Most Recent" feed.

Of the 39 group posts, 32 came from friends posting in groups I follow. The other posts came from other group members I chose to follow in the feed.

Most of the stories from pages were about a Dallas Cowboys football game the night before. I'm a big Cowboys fan & post often about my love for the team!

Facebook must deem these stories important and "trending" for me.

Not So Recent

One striking thing I found was that most stories from friends on the "Most Recent" feed weren't recent at all. Most were published November 23 & 24 -- when I wasn't active on Facebook.

And these posts hadn't seen much activity in days.

I wish I knew why Facebook didn't show more recent posts from my friends.

The algorithm decided instead that I'd missed stories that were popular with my friends weeks before & these posts were displayed in the "Most Recent" part of the newsfeed.

Wouldn't "Top Stories" have been a more appropriate place to display these older stories?


These were the most significant discoveries I made during my 14-day experiment with the newsfeed:

Friends are #1

Facebook appears to prioritize posts from friends over posts from pages.

The "Top Stories" part of the newsfeed especially favored posts from friends.

>> Click to Tweet <<

Facebook Ads

About one ad appeared for every 20 to 25 stories. Make sure your Facebook ads stand out or they'll be overlooked in a newsfeed filled with posts from friends.

Groups Matter

Only follow the most important groups, otherwise, your feed might get overrun with annoying posts.

Interest Lists are Dead

There, I said it!

Not a single post on my newsfeed contained stories from Interest Lists I'd followed.

Those I Follow Get Overlooked

I also didn't see any posts from the people I follow on Facebook.

This newsfeed experiment showed me that I should only interact with the pages & people I want to see posts from on my newsfeed.

One big-time takeaway is this: turn on the notifications for the pages, friends & groups that you want to see every time -- so you can see everything they post!

I think you'll find that you waste less time aimlessly scrolling the newsfeed & see more content from the people & pages you care about the most.

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