Facebook redesigns live feed, hides your friends and doesn’t tell you

Notice something strange lately about your Facebook news feed? Not seeing as many updates? Well guess what, during the latest redesign Facebook took it upon themselves to limit the number of YOUR friends that come up in YOUR live feed.

If you scroll to the bottom of your feed and click “Edit Options” a box will pop up with the following:
“Live Feed automatically determines which friends to include based on who Facebook thinks you want to hear from most. You can manually adjust this list below.”

Take a look…

Notice towards the bottom it has 250 listed as the maximum number of friends shown in the Live Feed. But what if you have more than 250 friends? Well, Facebook has taken it upon themselves to decide FOR YOU which ones make the cut.

Facebook has also taken it upon themselves to completely hide people from your live feed. Take a look on the right side of that box and you will see a list of friends that are now “hidden.” Near as I can tell there is no logic between who is chosen, but I found 10 of my friends already hidden, including some that I communicate with regularly.

Now, the good news is there is an easy fix. You can simply delete that 250 and enter in 5,000, thus guaranteeing you’ll see updates from all your friends. You can also go through and add those “hidden” friends back in, but this raises some bigger issues…

What the hell was Facebook thinking? Not only should they have notified users if they were going to alter what content makes it into your feed, but how could they seriously think they know better than you which friends you want to hear from? I don’t care what algorithm they’re using, it’s insulting and ridiculous.

What do you think?

UPDATE
Got sent this link from a friend (@epsteada) that shows the 250 friend limit for your news feed actually goes back farther than this latest redesign.

Feel free to still take a look as I might not be the only person that missed this first time around. Also, make sure none of your friends have mysteriously come up “hidden.”

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16 Comments

Filed under Facebook

16 responses to “Facebook redesigns live feed, hides your friends and doesn’t tell you

  1. I think there’s still more going on here. I don’t have more than 250 friends, and those that were in my “hidden” list I had actually put there at some point, but yet I’m still missing tons of updates since they pushed me the new version yesterday morning.

    Other than this issue — which I agree is a doozie — I haven’t minded the visual changes in this update, which I’ve heard droves of complaints about.

    So, since you’re so AMP’ed up about this, how about you march on over to their offices? Oh, and tell them I’m still mad as hell at them for taking down our SUNY New Paltz fan page mysteriously in October & then returning it a week later with zero fans instead of the 5k+ we had.

  2. Okay, I’m going to go out on a limb and take the unpopular side and defend Facebook here. For one, I have social media fatigue, and simply can’t get too worked up over stuff like this. Sites change and evolve, be it for better or worse. Secondly, they might be MY friends, but I would argue it’s not MY live feed. It’s a service owned by THEM. If they feel it necessary to change it, I’m free to leave the service should I be too upset over it. For all we know, there may be a perfectly reasonable, logistical reason they did that to improve overall user experience (to increase speed, relevancy, whatever). When you have a couple hundred million users, you’re bound to have to use some fuzzy logic though.

    It’s funny, I just mentioned this reference talking about Buzz earlier, but it’s applicable here. It’s turning into a Morlock-Eloi social media world. Us “high-techies” notice these changes and get outraged (even though FB allows us to override their settings), but the “casual-users” won’t bat an eye at it. Guess which group outnumbers the other.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for openness and all that jazz, but I do think that when people get upset about stuff like this, they’re getting mad for the wrong reasons. Us getting up in arms at their technical changes is almost like when our users get on to us over color choices or similar. We ultimately nitpick details that are part of a bigger decision made for reasons outside our available knowledge.

    • But Michael, it’s the casual-users who are most outrage in my live feed (at least the ones I can see.) It’s confusing to the users. I agree that folks should roll with change better (really, is “outrage” necessary here? Seems pretty minor to me,) but they could help the situation by sharing some insight as to why changes are being made. Did it make FB faster? Did it help anything? Is this preparation for some larger goal? Give the users something to work with.

  3. sethodell

    Michael,

    Love the comment and I think you’re dead on about some stuff. Let me clarify one thing…

    I don’t actually care that much that FB limited the number of friends coming into my feed, but I do care that they didn’t tell me. I really enjoy getting updates from certain friends and to have them disappear (and some pop up “hidden”) without telling me just sucks.

    Perhaps they did mention it and I just missed it, but if not they really should have been more open about the change.

  4. I actually went to look at mine and found that my limit had been set at 1500 (I have just a hair over 2k friends) and the only people on the hidden list were ones that I had put there before the change (just like Rachel’s).

    All in all, I’m not too non-plussed about the changes. I’ve gotten use it facebook arbitrarily changing things. Like Fienen said, we get this idea that because we are the user, we own the network and on a paid network, that makes some sense, but on a free one like facebook, we just have to suck it up and realize that it probably didn’t make that much of a difference.

  5. I agree — on my end, most of the people who are SO incredibly angry over Facebook changes are the people who hardly use it , aren’t exactly tech savvy, and generally like to complain over every little change.

    There is a bigger picture — we just can’t see it yet. Same reason why we tweak our blogs/websites — it may irritate long term readers/users but we have our reasons.

    Life is change. Either go with the flow or, um, go to Google Buzz? 😉

  6. Here’s my deal: I don’t mind changes if I’m told about them. I also don’t mind if they give me the choice between old and new for a while and then take away old (like they did awhile ago – it gave me time to get used to the idea).

    But MOSTLY I hate having to RE-LEARN everything. I was used to where things were and made use of the handy tool bar at the bottom regularly. AND I’m always set to offline and could give a shit less about Chat, but now that seems to feature quite prominently – lame.

    And what about the “see more/less from this person” option? Gone. My friend Ryan’s note to FB says this and a lot more with more eloquence than I have here. (http://www.facebook.com/notes/ryan-blackwell/my-note-to-facebook-about-the-improved-site/299130655740)

    I just think it’s kinda lame to up and change without warning and without tutorial. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have the old format and you click on something and it then show you where you can find that in the new format? That’d be sweet!

    Meanwhile, it’s fine. I’ll eventually learn this format like I learned the last one and everything will be swell again, but in the meantime I’ll grumble. No biggie.

  7. sethodell

    Fienen, Billy & Jessica,

    Upon rereading my post I will admit I was a bit amp’d when writing it. I had just finished my second energy drink of the day and was a little fired up. That being said, allow me to clarify…

    I am definitely not complaining about the recent FB redesign. In general I’m fine with it and I totally get that they are going to make their tweaks and changes. While I don’t like it, I’m even ok with the idea that, if they feel the need to limit my feed to 250 people, they are going to go ahead and start me out at who they think is best. And I obviously appreciate that I can manually change this.

    The only thing I have a problem with (besides randomly hiding some of my friends which is prob just a glitch) is that they didn’t tell me. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to get a heads up saying ‘Hey, we made some changes, check it out.’

    I just don’t like finding out months later that I’ve been missing out on something I used to enjoy. All I’m saying is…

    Dear Facebook,

    Gonna make some changes? Holla at your boy!

    Love,

    Seth

  8. This really exposes the complications that are coming in the new-age, advanced, read-write web. This is the sort of stuff that is only going to become bigger moving in to the future, as these systems get smarter and more powerful. Just imagine what we’ll be complaining about in another 5 years. 10 years. It’s crazy. Just go back and look at some of your favorite web sites five years ago and how much they’ve changed. Heck, just our college’s site has undergone a REVOLUTION in its look and feel, not to mention features.

  9. There’s got to be more changes behind the scenes. I have a Page specifically listed in my 250 and the updates won’t show up in either of the feed stream options. I have to visit the Page to see what’s been posted; not a big deal, until I miss something important to me because I didn’t look soon enough.

    I was fairly happy with the new rollout until this came to light. It’s a nice, clean interface. Sure would like control of my feed back though.

  10. Make sure you’re in the Live news feed, and not just the news feed when you’re looking to edit the number of people who show up, otherwise it doesn’t come up as an option. Just tried to explain it to a friend, and that’s the issue he ran into.

  11. Pingback: Företag missar väggen på Facebook « Newsdesk PR 2.0

  12. Anita

    Yes, I also miss updated from loads of friends (I don’t touch the 250 limit either).
    So, I’ve concluded that despite using “recent updates” rather than “top news” Facebook decided who’s updates I see. It seems to be some algorithm that decides that only those of my friends that are connected with each other are of interest. Thus if I have loads of friends without connection to each other, they are not shown.
    Has anyone else noticed this too?

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