In January I got a strange notification from Facebook telling me that I had "increased visibility". It explained:

This was a weird notification: it only showed up on my phone, not on desktop. Probably some sort of experiment?

Every week or so I'd get another notification telling me that I was still getting increased visibility, but that it was conditional on continuing to post things people were interested in.

I mostly ignored it, since I'm already very set in how I post on Facebook, and it was hard to tell how much of an effect it was having.

On March 25th I got another notification, saying I wasn't being interesting enough: "Engagement has slowed. See how you can get increased visibility".

I was curious about what effect this had, but I didn't seem to have a way to tell. Recently I remembered that I had turned on professional mode on my profile, which meant that if I went into "Professional dashboard / Insights / Content" I could see my last three months of posts with their "reach" and "engagement" counts. Here are the plots:

I've highlighted March 25th as a red square, being the day when I got the notification that I no longer had "increased visibility".

It doesn't seem like this was doing very much? Average "reach" (the number of people FB showed my posts to) was 802 before the 3/25 notification and 713 after.

This isn't a perfect experiment: after getting the notification I thought it would be a good time to post some more boring ("not of general interest") things I'd been thinking about for a while, though as usual I wasn't very good at predicting what people would be interested in and some of those posts got a lot of comments.

Overall, I think I'm better off continuing to write what I want without thinking much about how it will affect how many people might see what I write in the future, but "how does Facebook decide what to show" is an interesting question.

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1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 4:06 AM

If this happened to me, I would assume that Facebook is simply lying. That their strategy is to make me feel good about having increased visibility, then make me feel bad about no longer having it, with the idea that I would try to get my good feeling back by buying some ads.

Once I made a Facebook page for a game I was developing. Then I abandoned the game... but didn't delete the page, so it stayed there for ten years, empty, with zero activity. At certain period, Facebook started giving me notifications "someone is viewing your page right now" with suspicious regularity: once per day, always about 10 minutes after I logged in to Facebook (I was logging in at random times). I assumed that that the notifications were made up, because of the suspicious regularity. Of course, I had no way to verify this. Any values that Facebook gives you (other than clicks on outgoing links) are unverifiable.