How to Detoxify Your Facebook News Feed
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Have you noticed lately that your Facebook news feed is getting very negative? Unfortunately you have no one to blame but yourself, as it may be related to your own behavior on the site.

Facebook uses a somewhat complex algorithm that can even predict your political stance Facebook Predicts Your Political Stance Based on Your Activity Facebook Predicts Your Political Stance Based on Your Activity With all the data you willingly hand over, Facebook's algorithms can make a reasonable assumption about your political beliefs. Read More . It’s virtually impossible to blast 100 people of everything people post on to your news feed, so Facebook tries to tailor what you do see with the kind of topics it thinks you’ll enjoy engaging with.

To test a user’s ability to affect Facebook’s algorithm, we took an account that had become “contaminated” by political and other controversial posts, and worked to transform the news feed into a pleasant and uplifting one.

How Facebook “Knows” What You Like

So how does Facebook know what you want to see? And if it knows you so well, then why are you seeing so many controversial posts that can make you angry?

The reality is that Facebook’s algorithm isn’t perfect. You might be a health professional who expresses a lot of interest in cancer research. But Facebook may start showing you posts with scientific claims you strongly disagree with.

facebook health post

This is especially true if these posts are shared from your family and friends, since Facebook prioritizes those posts over others.

Facebook explains this on its Help Page, as follows.

“Posts that you see first are influenced by your connections and activity on Facebook. The number of comments, likes and reactions a post receives and what kind of story it is […] can also make it more likely to appear higher up in your News Feed.”

The post goes on to explain that the posts that get priority in your feed have the following characteristics:

  • One of your friends or family members interacting with post from another friend of yours.
  • Someone posting a comment to a post that one of your friends has shared.
  • A lot of activity (comments) on a video or article one of your friends shared.

As you can see, there are two key elements that form what you see every time you log into Facebook. The first is your own activity on Facebook, but the second is what your Facebook friends are posting.

Your Own Activity on Facebook

The start of this experiment was an Facebook account inundated with the kind of posts that make people want to leave Facebook. Posts from both sides of current political, scientific, and societal debates.

facebook trump posts

The reality is that this account ended up this way because of the actions of the account owner. Engaging in controversy and debating everyone on Facebook causes Facebook’s algorithm to create a toxic environment.

Every time you log into Facebook, you’re confronted with more topics to get you upset, and more people who disagree with you to debate. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the posts in your news feed, this kind of environment can get exhausting.

Technical Fixes for Facebook Toxicity

There are many things you can do to save your account. Remember, the primary cause is your own activity. Second are the friends you keep.

Let’s go after the first issue: your own activity. Many of these are quick technical changes you can make right away. First, click the dropdown in your menu bar, and choose Manage Groups.

manage facebook groups

Click on Groups in the menu, and scan through all of the groups you’ve joined over the years.

Identify any that are political or controversial in any way. Click the Gear icon, and then Leave Group.

political groups on Facebook

Once you’re done removing the controversial groups you’re a part of, it’s time to attack the Facebook Pages you have liked.

From your Facebook homepage, click on Pages in the left navigation menu. Then click on Liked Pages.

liked Facebook pages

Again, go through the list and click on the pages you’ve liked over the years that are most likely to be contributing to your toxic news feed.

At the top of the page, you’ll see Liked and Following buttons.

unfollow Faceboom pages

Click on Liked and then Unlike this Page. Then click on Following and Unfollow this Page. You can learn more about what it means to follow or unfollow on Facebook What Is Unfollow and Follow on Facebook? (And When to Use It) What Is Unfollow and Follow on Facebook? (And When to Use It) You don't have to be friends with someone on Facebook! You can just Follow them instead, then Unfollow when you get bored. Read More before you do this, if you like.

Once you’ve unliked and unfollowed all of those pages, you’ll be well on your way to a brand new (and enjoyable) Facebook news feed.

For more technical tweaks you can make to customize your feed, go through our in-depth instructions on adding filters to keep politics out of your Facebook feed How to Keep Annoying Politics Out of Your Facebook Feed How to Keep Annoying Politics Out of Your Facebook Feed Tired of politics filling up your Facebook feeds? Here's how you can purge all of that and regain your sanity. Read More .

Detoxifying Your Facebook News Feed

After making the technical changes listed above, it only took a few hours for our experimental Facebook account to start looking better.

However, there’s still more you can do to organically “hack” Facebook’s algorithm.

Start going through your actual news feed, and when you spot controversial, toxic posts—whether it’s a group, page, or a friend—hide the ones you consider to be contributing to the toxicity.

To do this, just click on the three dots on the upper right side of the post. Then choose Hide post from the dropdown menu.

hide Facebook posts

With our experimental account, we followed this procedure every time we logged into the account over the course of just a few days. Eventually, the sort of controversial posts you’re sick of seeing will stop showing up in the news feed.

You can learn more about how to mute people on social media How to Mute Social Media Friends Without Unfollowing Them How to Mute Social Media Friends Without Unfollowing Them If you have friends or family on social media whose updates spam up your feed, here's how to mute them without having to break your relationships with them. Read More if you have Facebook friends you want to silence, but don’t want to unfollow. Remember, your friends’ activities have a strong effect on the Facebook algorithm. So silence the ones who fuel the toxic environment.

You’re still not done. Now it’s time to take a proactive approach and rebuild the account into a more enjoyable experience.

Seek Out the Good Things on Facebook

Now it’s time to rebuild Facebook’s analysis of your likes and dislikes. Start by finding Pages and Groups that offer positive and uplifting topics you’re interested in.

Use the search bar at the top of your Facebook homepage to find those topics.

make Facebook positive again

On the results page, explore the Pages and Groups links to find those Pages and Groups that you love.

When you spot good ones, just click the Like button on the right.

like more facebook pages

Keep searching for things that will bring positive thoughts and changes to your life. Discover new Facebook groups 5 Awesome Ways to Discover New Facebook Groups 5 Awesome Ways to Discover New Facebook Groups There is no directory of Facebook Groups to browse through, so the best you can do is rely on recommendations of Groups to join or learn a few tips and tricks to discover new Groups. Read More that will actually help improve your life.

When you spot Groups you like, click the Join button on the right.

joining Facebook groups

Be very selective about the Groups you join, because posts from Groups can easily take over your Facebook feed. Very popular and active Groups will pop up many times a day in your feed.

This is why choosing the right Groups An Introduction to Facebook's Closed and Secret Groups An Introduction to Facebook's Closed and Secret Groups In this article, you’ll learn the basics about open, closed, and secret Facebook groups and how to actually find closed and secret groups on Facebook. Read More is a critical part of this process. So take the time to do this right.

Engage in Positive Ways on Facebook

At this point, the experimental Facebook account we set out to transform had no more controversial or toxic posts showing up in the news feed. The more positive groups filled the news feed with lots of funny, encouraging, and uplifting posts.

If you want to boost this positive effect to your feed even further, spend time every day interacting with people in those groups. Keep things positive and light. Avoid debating topics whenever possible.

mom and dad groups on Facebook

If you’re a parent, consider joining supporting groups for moms and dads. If you’re a college student, join groups of others who are studying the same subject or students from the same college. There’s no better way to make true friends on Facebook than meeting people who are in a similar position as yourself.

If you keep this up, before long you’ll have transformed your toxic Facebook experience into one filled with positivity. The negativity will disappear, and your Facebook feed will become one where you actually look forward to logging into your account every day.

creating a better Facebook

Wouldn’t it be nice to find yourself scanning through your Facebook feed and laughing or smiling instead of getting angry? This little experiment proved that not only is it possible, but you can accomplish it in a short space of time with minimal effort.

When it comes to using Facebook, this article just touches the tip of the iceberg. If you really want to dig deeper, you’ll want to pore over our in-depth guide to Facebook How to Use Facebook How to Use Facebook New to Facebook? We'll teach you all you need to know about how to use Facebook in our guide. Learn how to create an account, find friends, and make the most of every feature! Read More . It’s a great way to really take full advantage of your transformed Facebook account.

Explore more about: Facebook, Politics.

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  1. Hope
    September 18, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Or do what I do and just don't use Facebook lol.