As many of you know, since the 2016 election season made politics a taboo subject for many people on Facebook, I limit political posts to my website (electionopinions.com) and only share articles posted on that site to a dedicated Facebook page I set up for such content. Except today.
I want to share a little public service announcement with you.
If you are seeing too much political content (or other ads) on your Facebook wall, and you do not like that, first see where the content originated.
If it is from a group you belong to, or a page you have liked, you can “snooze” that group/page and not see their content for 30 days, or you can “unfollow” that group/page.
You can also take a more targeted approach if it is not the entire group/page you want to stop seeing, but just one annoying person’s posts. In the example below, you could choose to just “snooze” or “hide” Frank rather than all posts from the group.
You can do the same with friends, or you can also “unfriend” someone as a last resort.
But if the content you do not like is an advertisement, a sponsored post, or a paid political post, the worst thing you can do it to interact with it. Hiding the ad is fine, and you can check to see why you were targeted for the ad, but many people just can’t seem to leave well enough alone.
Facebook uses an algorithm for paid advertisements, sponsored posts, political posts, those sort of things. They don’t want to flood your timeline with things you do not want to see, and they do not want advertisers and content creators wasting their time (and often, money) by putting the content in front of disinterested eyes. How does Facebook know? They watch what you do, what you read, what you click on and comment on and like or share.
If you hide an ad, Facebook will ask you why? Tell them! By choosing “irrelevant” you let them know their algorithm perhaps targeted you incorrectly.
I had an interaction with someone today (a very outspoken Trump supporter) who had a link to one of my articles come up in his timeline. He was angry that a political post he did not like had appeared on his timeline. He clicked on the post to come to my page. He gave the post an angry face. He commented on how stupid liberals were. He commented on some of the other comments people had made on the post. All together, he interacted 6 times with the post.
See, the target demographic for this article was “liberals, likely to interact with political content.” As I noted, this guy was a hardcore Trump supporter. No doubt, my article wound up in his timeline because he makes a habit of visiting liberal pages and voicing his displeasure about all that type of content he keeps getting bombarded with.
Facebook targeted him as someone likely to interact with liberal political content because he does, even though it drives him crazy. He interacted 6 times with that article. In the future, especially as the 2020 election nears, do you think Facebook is more or less likely now to target him with liberal political content? What if he had just ignored the post, or hidden it? He would be less likely to be targeted next time.
And it does advertisers and content creators no favors either when people get content that annoys them. I don’t want my content in front of folks who don’t want to read it. Though I try not to delete or hide any comments people make (other than threats or an unacceptable level of vulgarity), it wastes my time having to moderate the comments section when fights break out. Plus, being attacked or harassed makes people who want to come to my page to read and interact stay away or limit comments.
This is the calm before the storm, folks. If 2016 made you want to drop Facebook and Twitter and never speak of politics again, all I can say is that 2020 is going to make 2016 look like a civil and positive debate. If you don’t want to be splashed with the mud that is sure to be flung in all directions, I can’t blame you. But you can start now by avoiding interactions with posts and ads you don’t want to see. Hide them. Snooze, unfollow, or unfriend people who fill your timeline with posts you don’t want to see. Leave or snooze groups that do the same.
If you ignore these posts, they WILL go away.