How I Broke Facebook’s Algorithm

If you are a user of Facebook, you are their product. Their strongest desire is for you to stay on the site/app as much as possible, and if you leave, to make sure that you come back often. They have a full feedback look, they know what to show you to capture your interest, they know what you like, who you communicate with (also using WhatsApp and Messenger). They have thousands of engineers whose job is to hook you. And they are REALLY good at it.

But sometimes it backfires, like in my case. I don’t like to open Facebook anymore. But when I do, I check my notifications, scroll for a minute or two and leave very fast. And I do this at most 2 times a day (well… sometimes 3). At first I didn’t notice but after a while it became clear to me that this was happening.

You are probably asking yourselves “How did he do that?”

Let’s start by saying that I didn’t do it on purpose. I have a son with a brain tumor (some call it cancer, some don’t… we call it “the blob”), and as the information freak that I am, I’ve added myself to all possible Facebook groups related to this. From the standard to the bizarre, I’m there.

So here I go, open Facebook, and what do I see? Not pictures of people on vacation. Not pictures of my friend’s new baby. No. I get all kinds of stuff related to people fighting for their live. Pictures of kids after a brain operation, pictures of their MIRs (people come to FB to get their MRIs reviewed!), long stories of what is happening in their lives, talking about their suffering and pains, and their hope for a bright future. Depressing…

I’m very active in these conversations, giving my opinions, asking questions myself, sending and receiving energy from the community. And probably because of this FB keeps on pushing this subject into my feed. But I can’t say that the experience is enjoyable.

Now instead of opening FB 5/10 times a day as I used to, now I go once or twice a day, mainly to check notifications from the groups I follow and see if someone has a birthday to congratulate them. And some days I just don’t open it. And I’m OK with that. Life is more than full without it.

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