Dear Facebook: Why Can’t You Just Give Us An Unfiltered Chronological Feed?!

200x0-facebook-trash-resized-600[1]Dear Facebook,

It's old news to most people: You filter the posts we see from friends and Pages, so what we see in our news feed is only a fraction of the content that we are actually connected to. There are lots of hacks and tricks to help us see the things you hide from us, but many of us are still left asking: Why can't you just show us an unfiltered feed of everything?

The reason, you say, is because users would be too overwhelmed. They can't handle that much content. Trust you. You know better than we do. You're imagelooking out for us, right? You want to protect us from overload. Oh, and by the way, you make money by charging people and Pages to make their content appear in more users' feeds - something Mark Cuban recently got attention for complaining about. But I'm sure that has nothing to do with why you filter the feed, right? Of course.

26697695[1]Oh, but not only do you filter content, but you also insist on putting us back into your "Top Stories" view, which puts posts at the top that you think we will be most interested in. If we switch to "Most Recent", which puts posts in order (shocking!) it will stick for a while, then randomly switch back without asking us. Because you're trying to help us. Of course. (Luckily Social Fixer automatically switches me back)

So I ask again: Facebook, why can't you just give us an unfiltered chronological feed?!

Twitter does it.
Google+ does it.
Instagram does it.
Why must you be different?
(Hint: It's because none of the others get revenue from artificially limiting content visibility)

Hey, you don't even have to make it the default. For most users, you can still control and manipulate what they see in their feed. But why not let "power users" see the whole feed, and let us suffer in the landslide of content? Why not let us decide if we like it better? Why not just make it an OPTION?!

imageToday, you released a new feature - the "Pages Feed". We see that this is an attempt to silence critics like George Takei, who is a vocal and popular opponent to your filtering. This view gives you a view of Page posts from your feed. But they are not in order! What the WHAT?! Facebook, how could you screw up something so simple?! And is that feed really unfiltered? So far, no one has confirmed it either way. Let's hope it is. I'm not confident.

Seriously, Facebook, please listen to your users. Give us the option to see an unfiltered, chronological news feed, and allow us to make it our default - on the web and on mobile. You can put ads in our feed, on our sidebar, and still allow promoted posts to those who stick with the default filtered view. Fine. But don't take away our content, or you become less and less useful to us.

  • When I tell my Tivo to record episodes of Modern Family, it doesn't pick out the ones it thinks I will like best and only record them, does it?
  • When I subscribe to a magazine, the publisher doesn't deliver only the issues that it thinks I will be most interested, does it?
  • The Post Office doesn't filter my mail, in order to protect me from drowning in all the catalogs, magazines, and junk mail that I've requested, does it? No. It delivers everything I've asked for.
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    Why, Facebook, can't you just be like everyone else and let me see what I've said I want to see?! Why must you think you know what I want better than I do? Why?

    We like you, Facebook. We want to stay. Just show us all the witty posts from our friends, the cat pictures from our Pages, the gay puns from George Takei, and comics from The Oatmeal. Even the ones you don't think we'll like. We'll manage. I promise.

    Thanks. All the best,

    -- Matt Kruse
    (Author of Social Fixer, a free, popular browser extension that tries to fix many of the annoying things that FB screws up for users. Check it out and install it from ! )

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    [Update 11/16 2:20pm: Facebook wants over $1,000 (pic) to "Promote" my post and reach all my subscribers. Ha! Now taking donations Winking smile ]

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