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?


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

  1. “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.”
    There is. For me it is most recent. If I SELECT that option, then they should leave it that way.

  2. Yet one more way they can draw blood data from facebook users.. You have to make interest list and they win once more. I’m looking for a new web.

  3. it used to be that I would change it back to “most recent” and it would stay that for several weeks before randomly being changed back to “top stories” again. It’s annoying, but whatever. Now, it’s automatically set on top stories EVERY SINGLE TIME i sign in. Seems like kind of a jerk move by Facebook. Why do they feel the need to micromanage in this way?

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