Does Your Facebook News Feed keep changing back to Top Stories? Here’s why.

Update 5/15/14: I have been frustrated as of late about this…and I can’t be the only one since have been getting a lot of traffic on this post. Leave your thoughts below.

For the past month, the social community has been a buzz because Facebook has changed their News Feed algorithm, causing decreased reach for brands. There have been blogs lamenting the latest changes, but in a positive attempt to provide a solution have offered a number of suggestions including changing your News Feed settings to “Most Recent” from “Top Stories.”

Here’s the thing though…Facebook is changing the settings back on you automatically.

I have been testing for a week now and asking other trusted colleagues to do the same, and we all have found that it happens frequently.

While I didn’t sit at the computer 24/7, for the past week I have been trying to monitor various time intervals before the switch took place. I found from my trials it can be anywhere from a half-hour to overnight.

Why is Facebook doing this?

Image by Mike Daugherty

Well for one they are clearly moving to a more curated News Feed and I think ideally they want to give both advertisers and users more social relevance to sponsored stories.

Second, they just like to change things. I think we can all agree on that.

Is it annoying? Sure. Would many people want the option to sort completely chronologically? Probably, but the thing to realize is that there are so many pieces of data that can be injected into the News Feed at any point, there has to be some way to keep order.

Things like activity boxes on the Timeline and a clampdown on “frictionless sharing” have helped to clean up the News Feed, but it’s a vicious cycle of content creation, curation, and then conversation which keeps so many stories flooding your Facebook.

So is there any solution to the News Feed issue? At this point I don’t see one, however one tip that many others have pointed out is to create Facebook Interest Lists. Mari Smith has a great how-to guide on creating interest lists you can read here.

I started a list for brands, you can subscribe to that here.

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who think they can change the News Feed to “Most Recent” and have everything be ok again, and they probably never checked it again. This post is for you, because I’m sure you have been frustrated like I have.

How to change your Newsfeed to ‘Most Recent’ on Desktop

1. Find the little arrow in the upper left corner of the home screen next to ‘News Feed’

2. Check the option ‘Most Recent’

3. Check tomorrow and hope it stays

top stories most recent facebook settings changes news feed

Here’s how to access the Most Recent news feed on Mobile (this is really buried, thanks to Skyler Rogers for the tip)

  1. Select the “More” button in the lower right-hand corner of the Facebook app.
  2. Scroll to the Feeds section and tap on the grey “Feeds” header to expand it.
  3. Most Recent will appear in the expanded list, and you can tap on it to view your news feed.


Have you experienced this problem? Would you want to have a purely chronological News Feed? Would you pay for one?


Is there a science to posting on Facebook?

While your brand’s audience will undoubtedly be consuming media throughout various times of the day, there’s no secret science to the “best” time to post on Facebook. That doesn’t mean we can’t try to figure it out though! Thanks to the help of some dedicated researchers, there are a few proven trends that you can test out on your own brand (See Dan Zarella at Hubspot, EdgerankChecker and more) to determine when you should be posting. Again, there’s no universal RIGHT way, but here are three basic points that we find helpful:

1. Easy like Sunday morning

Don’t knock the weekend! One of the biggest mistakes we see are brands only posting around their company’s office hours. In reality, posts made on Saturday and Sunday lean toward a much higher like percentage than those during the business week. Why? Well no matter if it’s school or work, during the week people are on the go. On the weekends they have time to relax, pour up a cup of coffee, and consume all your great media.

2. Consider your consumer

While the weekends have been proven, the rest of the week is a crapshoot. The best bet is to literally put yourself in your customers shoes. Figure out their behavioral patterns online through research.

For example: Media outlets post the morning’s top news stories early so the audience can like, comment, and share as they wake up. Are you a restaurant? Consider this: It’s 10:30AM, the hunger pangs set in. Is it lunch yet? You probably get like me and click over to Facebook to pass the time while you quell that hunger. What better than to see your big juicy burger, slow cooked rack of ribs, or other lunch special at 11:00am as my coworkers and I decide where to eat.

3. Use insights to guide your postings

The supplied Facebook insights will tell you a lot. If you’re monitoring and measuring regularly, you can use them to identify trends in your social activity and improve them. What’s this look like? Take a look at Captain Stan’s Smokehouse. After doing some research and testing through the Facebook insights and our own analytics tools we learned that most people weren’t actually coming to our page after the initial like, or seeing many of our updates, despite regular postings.

To combat that and offer a reason for fans to come back every week, we started “Woodbine Wednesday” a weekly fun fact about the tiny little town of Woodbine, GA where this BBQ house is. It was a simple call to action that invited our fans to come back to the page each Wednesday to learn about the new fact through humorous posts and great photos.

As a result, we increased the reach of social content by nearly 230% from April to May, but more importantly we increased the number of butts in the seats.

From roughly 1,500 to 5,000

How are you using the SCIENCE of social data to improve your messaging? When have you found the best times to post for your brand? Let us know in the comments.