Party Like It’s 2009? Facebook Brings Back Old-Look News Feed


Remember the days when your social media newsfeed wasn’t algorithm-powered and you could comfortably look through the latest posts from your actual friends? That look was “abandoned” in 2009, and we say it that way because in truth, it never really left. It was simply buried in a labyrinth of menus.

No school like old school

The truth about the algorithmic newsfeed, however, is that it has made life simpler for us. When looking at the past, it’s in our nature to put on our heaviest rose-tinted glasses. When someone learns your favourite meal and cooks it for you, you admire that person for taking an interest in you. At the base of it, that’s what algorithms do. They learn more about us in order to show us content that’s more relevant to us.

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The downside to that, of course, is that it’s not essentially done to please us. It’s done in a more underhanded way and is designed for us to click and spend more, which is why the option to change back to a chronological format is much needed. That way, when you don’t feel like seeing as much sponsored content as digitally possible, there’s the old school ready to welcome you back.

Adding new limits

As part of the update, the “most recent” option is moved to a new “feed filter bar”, at the top of the news feed. This also allows users to prioritise posts from up to 30 friends or particular pages, a feature introduced in October last year, before reverting to algorithmic content ranking.

A composite shows the "who can comment on your post" controls
Image courtesy of Facebook

Since transparency has not exactly been Facebook’s strong suit in quite a while, “Why am I seeing this?” links will now detail the criteria for recommended posts – from people and organisations users do not follow – such as having recently interacted with a similar post.

The new controls would be available for Android app users first, Facebook said, with an iOS update for Apple phones in the coming weeks.

A composite shows new ranking options for the news feed