Facebook Increased Visibility

May 15th, 2023
meta, tech
In January I got a strange notification from Facebook telling me that I had "increased visibility". It explained:

This was a weird notification: it only showed up on my phone, not on desktop. Probably some sort of experiment?

Every week or so I'd get another notification telling me that I was still getting increased visibility, but that it was conditional on continuing to post things people were interested in.

I mostly ignored it, since I'm already very set in how I post on Facebook, and it was hard to tell how much of an effect it was having.

On March 25th I got another notification, saying I wasn't being interesting enough: "Engagement has slowed. See how you can get increased visibility".

I was curious about what effect this had, but I didn't seem to have a way to tell. Recently I remembered that I had turned on professional mode on my profile, which meant that if I went into "Professional dashboard / Insights / Content" I could see my last three months of posts with their "reach" and "engagement" counts. Here are the plots:

I've highlighted March 25th as a red square, being the day when I got the notification that I no longer had "increased visibility".

It doesn't seem like this was doing very much? Average "reach" (the number of people FB showed my posts to) was 802 before the 3/25 notification and 713 after.

This isn't a perfect experiment: after getting the notification I thought it would be a good time to post some more boring ("not of general interest") things I'd been thinking about for a while, though as usual I wasn't very good at predicting what people would be interested in and some of those posts got a lot of comments.

Overall, I think I'm better off continuing to write what I want without thinking much about how it will affect how many people might see what I write in the future, but "how does Facebook decide what to show" is an interesting question.

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