Facebook has announced it is making changes to the way your News Feed displays stories. This change seems geared at addressing several controversies, including Facebook’s role in spreading “fake news,” promulgating hate speech, deepening information silos, and making users less happy when they use the site. Instead of prioritizing news and content from publishers, Facebook plans to show you more posts from friends and family. And it wants to keep you engaged: The more comments a post gets, the more it will be prioritized in your feed.
More comments aren’t always better, and more engagement doesn’t necessarily mean you will feel happier on social media, however. What’s worse, by deprioritizing Facebook Page content – like AFSC’s posts – you could miss seeing stories about resistance and resilience, opportunities to take action, and information about peace and social justice work. Most of us spend so much time online that we see social media as an important tool for building inclusive communities.
The algorithm can make guesses about what users want in their feeds, but does it really understand people and community?
Here are four steps you can take to make your experience on social media more fulfilling even as the algorithm changes.
1) Make sure you can still see AFSC posts and the posts of other organizations you support.
2) Join us in conversation – tell us about your social justice work.
If you like the posts by a group or organizations, show them some love. Comment on the posts that inspire you and lift you up. The algorithm responds to what people find engaging, so recognizing the posts that help you understand the world and be a better activist will help other people see these posts.
3) Diversify your timeline.
In our political mobilization and organizing, we must listen to and follow the leadership of those who we are trying to be in solidarity with, including on social media. AFSC has compiled a public Twitter list of people to follow called Amplify These Voices. You can also seek out organizations doing inspiring work on Facebook – and be sure to set your News Feed to see them first.
4) Use social media to make change in the world.
Here are some tips for countering Islamophobia on social media. By talking about your values, listening to others, and sharing stories of resilience, you can help grow more inclusive communities – online and off.