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Can You See Me Now? My Facebook Experiment

Jeff Linamen

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IMG_6177 - Version 2Last Wednesday was Cash’s 11th birthday and instead of just posting a picture of him on Facebook to share and commemorate the occasion, I decided to try a little experiment.

I decided to mimic those never-ending pictures on Facebook of people holding signs asking for LIKES of help with something, that flooded Facebook for a while.


A lot of my Facebook friends have been complaining about the newsfeed and not seeing current updates from their friends. Have you noticed? It can be confusing when you see posts popping up from the previous day, when you didn’t see them before, even though you checked. Yes, you can switch between top news and most recent. Still, some friends’ posts don’t show up in either one. So what’s going on?

Facebook is supposed to be a way for people to connect and friends to stay in touch. Many people have been sharing important news on Facebook, as their primary form of communication, instead of spending hours making phone calls or sending email. This is especially beneficial when time is an issue, or the news is something that you really don’t want to have to repeat over and over again. Sometimes though, and more frequently now, those posts aren’t showing up. I’ve known people to get hurt or angry because friends didn’t respond, LIKE or comment on their news. They trusted Facebook as a reliable forum to share their news, only to be let down by the current, unpredictable algorithm that is mysteriously sorting what we see.

So how are you supposed to stay in touch when you can’t see what your friends are posting? First, this isn’t entirely true. You can always go to your friends’ page and see everything they are sharing. The problem comes into play when users have many friends and pages they follow and rely on the newsfeed and notifications to keep them informed. That used to be pretty efficient. Now, the wizards at Facebook are controlling what you see and frequently pushing things your way you have no desire to see. Ads and recommended pages and products are here to stay.

Have you also noticed, if you access Facebook from different computers or your phone app, you get different results? The other day a post showed up on my phone from a friend that I hadn’t seen any posts from in awhile. (I had just figured he was busy and taking a break.) Then I saw it had actually been posted a few days before but was showing up now– presumably, because it received new comments. I checked my computer again and it definitely was not showing up in either my newsfeed or notifications. I went to his page and saw he had posted quite a bit, some important stuff– but somehow Facebook decided I shouldn’t see that information. My own family’s posts don’t show up half the time!

On the other hand, there are some people’s posts that never seem to stop. A few I haven’t messaged, LIKED, or commented on, in over a year. Yet, I see everything they do! It just makes no sense.

My personal message to Facebook is : Please, stop censoring what I see. I chose to be friends with these people (or follow a company, group or fan page)… Let me decide if I want to read their content! Just PLEASE stop blocking it and making that decision for me.


Here are the results of my experiment. Realize this isn’t very scientific but it gives you an idea of what all the confusion is about. It might also give to a look into the reach of your audience. The LIKE and SHARED numbers included the measurable friends and friends of friends, viewable on Facebook.

The picture was posted with the PUBLIC setting at approximately 9 am, Wednesday April 23, 2014

My current number of Facebook friends: 873

Number of People that LIKED in the first 10 hours: 248

Number of People that LIKED in the first 24 hours: 465

Number of SHARES in the first 24 hours: 166

Number of LIKES to date (approximately three days): 811

Number of SHARES to date: 711

Number of LIKES from the SHARED List: 1182

Number of Friend SHARES: 16

Number of Friend of Friends SHARES: 215

Number of Friends that said they used Facebook on 4/23 but did not see my original post: 10

As I said, this wasn’t very scientific, so some of the numbers don’t match up. I suspect there could be overlaps and some may not show accurately based on people’s privacy settings.

Another thing I noticed was that it took more than 24 hours for the info to update and combine the totals on the picture. The total number of LIKES and SHARES changed by about 10, as I was writing this.


Favorite SHARED comments from friends of friends (and beyond):

  • Awwww… if he won’t give you a steak, just bite him. You need a steak!
  • At 77 yrs old who can deny you!
  • At 11 you should have steak every night for dinner!
  • Omg, I just fed my two doberman’s steak for dinner, and they are no where near 11…bless his heart visit me, I will feed you steak!!!!!!
  • Le ne maradjon a steakről!!
  • A steak for an 11 year old dog would probably kill his pancreas. (This is a terrible thought… but it made me laugh anyway.)
  • If he put up with u for 11 yrs. lol! Buy him a steak any way!!

The last one was my favorite!

From what I can tell, quite a few of my friends never saw the original post. I’m also sure many scrolled right by it without LIKING or SHARING it. In either case, don’t depend that your friends are seeing your posts. I’ve started tagging people in the comment section, or sharing with them directly, if I want to be sure they see it.


And YES, Cash got his steak.


photo 1

1 Comment

  1. Herb Linamen says:

    Yep, there are problems. Quite frequently I get something and think “Why am I getting this old news now?”


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