How I Hacked the New Facebook Algorithm and Tormented My Friends (2023)

Or how to lose friends and affect others.

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Courtesy of Katie Notopoulos, BuzzFeed News reporter

How I Hacked the New Facebook Algorithm and Tormented My Friends (2)
(Video) Here to Help: What To Do If Your Facebook Account Gets Hacked

Last Saturday, 12 days ago, I shared a pathetic video on Facebook: a six-minute video of a white woman in her early twenties showing off her drab little Brooklyn apartment. Kind of like a pumpkin version of a spiced latteMTV crib -Innocent but irritating. This video has been terrifying my friends and family ever since, popping up at the top of their feeds every day, over and over. They complain about me on Facebook. They complain about me in real life. They tweet me and email me. They begged me to delete the damn video that greets them every time they open Facebook.

Of course, they commented on my post. Then people comment on the comments. The more people comment, the more that video will appear in other people's feeds. As people's outrage over the post grew, so did the comments. A colleague sitting next to me made a comment. my colleague commented. Someone who went to kindergarten with me made a comment. An algorithmically delicious vicious circle.

After a few days, the comments went from "I hate this woman's apartment" to "Why is this video still at the top of Facebook?" or "Please, please delete this video" and finally my boss said "Please write it down".

How I Hacked the New Facebook Algorithm and Tormented My Friends (3)

In early 2018, Facebook announced an increased focus on meaningful engagement. CEO Mark Zuckerbergwrittenhas repeatedly stated that the company is now focused on "having fun" on the platform (though not manyin facebookseem to know how to define this metric). Since then, those who believe in Facebook (like journalists) have been nervously trying to figure out what the change means: Is "meaningful engagement" just shorthand for comments? Well, you should ask me why I found out everything. I use it to torture my friends.

Presumably because of a recent algorithm change, my posts have been at the top of the newsfeed, although part of the new change was to get peopleDivineConsuming content passively (aka watching videos and scrolling through memes) and what I'm sharing is an example of the kind of passive content that Facebook wants you to consume less. Because of its ability to inspire angry comments from my friends, my posts kept popping up. Facebook would reward me for pissing off my friends, and their newfound thirst for feedback would seem to repeat itself, preventing my friends from putting down content they really hated.

(Video) How to Change Your Facebook Newsfeed to See Your Friends Most Recent Posts

It’s those moments when the cracks appear, when the same horrific video is at the top of your Facebook page for 12 days in a row, that we remember how bad it was when our friendships were controlled by algorithms.

We are used to receiving non-chronological sources on our social networks. Even on Instagram, where people complain the most, we understand the rules for new channels. It’s those moments when the cracks start to show, when the same horrific video is at the top of your Facebook page for 12 days in a row, that we remember how bad it was when our friendships were controlled by algorithms. It's like being in a sci-fi movie where a sexy robot takes off his mask and you remember he's made of steel, or the Wizard of Oz frantically twirling his sounder behind the scenes. The algorithm doesn't understand friendship. It may be fake, but when we see a Valentine’s Day Instagram post four days later, or when a machine mistakes a stream of angry comments for a “commitment,” we’re reminded that machines still don’t understand the basics of human nature.

I've been down this road before. In fact,I've written about this question before.In the summer of 2016, Facebook made yet another rejig of its News Feed, prioritizing posts from friends and family over posters, ending what many saw as the three-year tyranny of BuzzFeed quizzes and cooking videos. Not long after, I noticed a co-worker posting asking if anyone had tried making overnight oats “stuck” at the top of my Facebook feed for five days, even though he never commented. He doesn't like this post. I call this phenomenon the overnight oats problem.

In that moment, it was amazing to see this shift away from friends and family posting. Back then, people were so used to communicating only through publishers' shared content that they forgot to write a simple text post. That means text posts are rare, and when someone actually writes about them, like asking for an oatmeal recipe, Facebook's algorithm is funny. In general, Facebook seems to be an alien who came to earth and thought that "friendship" was family affection.mustardA meme of someone you met in high school.

Facebook is an alien who came to Earth and thinks "friendship" is familymustardA meme of someone you met in high school.

(Video) 7 Facebook Algorithm Hacks To Get More People To See & Engage With Your Posts

Since this change, we've gotten used to texting again, mostly due to the popularity of these blocks of colorful text that were annoying at first but are now justusedFor them, this recommendation widget is even useful now, and you may have even forgotten how weird it was when you first saw it.

A lot has changed at Facebook since the summer of 2016. From fake news to having to answer to Congress about Russian election meddling on the platform, it's been a tough year and a half for the company. This latest algorithmic shift toward “meaningful engagement” appears to be an obvious response to the crisis that hit us in late 2017.

Here we are at a new stage in the history of Facebook where they send comments. But that led overnight to the new version of the oatmeal problem: people getting the same outdated content from friends for 12 days in a row, just because they had a lot of comments. No one wants to see my posts multiple times a day, but yet again the algorithm has misjudged people's needs. In fact, people really hate this movie, they want it gone. Facebook took their request to stop it as a signal to show them more and more. It's enough to make you nostalgic for these Russian Chaos agents.

How I Hacked the New Facebook Algorithm and Tormented My Friends (4)

(Video) How To Know Who Is Visiting My Facebook Profile Facebook Profile Viewers!! - Howtosolveit

Try it yourself; it's easy to trick the system by posting something that gets comments. Try asking a question or getting a prompt, "Does anyone have a favorite shampoo?" or "What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in high school?"

Believe me, you will get a lot of answers. And it will stay on your friend's feed for days.

If they're anything like my friends, they'll hate you for it. Good luck.

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  • Katie Notopoulos will report from BuzzFeed

    Katie Notopoulos is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News based in New York City. Contact this reporter at


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How do I fix my Facebook algorithm? ›

How do I reset my Facebook algorithm?
  1. Click your profile picture and select Settings and privacy > Feed.
  2. Use the options here to make an immediate Facebook algorithm change. ...
  3. Go back to Settings and privacy, then click Settings, then click Ads in the left menu.
Feb 22, 2023

What is the first thing you do when you get hacked on Facebook? ›

Here's What To Do! As soon as you see any indication that someone has hacked your Facebook account, start by changing your password and tightening your security settings. It's also a good idea to inform your friends and followers that your account was compromised, and report the incident to Facebook.

Does Facebook delete accounts that are hacked? ›

We may disable or delete your account if it appears to have been hacked or compromised and we are unable to confirm ownership of the account after a year, or if the account is unused and remains inactive for an extended period of time.

What is the first thing you do when you get hacked? ›

Step 1: Change your passwords

This is important because hackers are looking for any point of entry into a larger network, and may gain access through a weak password. On accounts or devices that contain sensitive information, make sure your password is strong, unique—and not easily guessable.

Why am I not seeing friends posts on Facebook? ›

Why am I not seeing friends posts on Facebook? If you're asking this question and wondering why Facebook isn't showing posts from all of your friends, you're not alone. Believe it or not, this actually isn't a bug. It's just the way that the Facebook algorithm works.

How long does it take for Facebook to resolve a hacked account? ›

Based on our experience, the average recovery process takes around 1-2 weeks, but it'll be worth it. Hacked accounts are far more likely to get hacked again. Be sure to enable 24/7 account monitoring and identity theft protection insurance to make sure you're protected moving forward!!

How do people get hacked on Facebook? ›

Hackers can also access your Facebook account via fake apps you have unknowingly installed on your phone. In 2022, Meta reported that an estimated one million users may have had their accounts compromised by hackers using malicious apps that were available on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

How serious is being hacked on Facebook? ›

Your hacked Facebook account might also send unwanted emails, change your profile information, or even change your email address and password. These are all bad scenarios and things you'll want to avoid. Another common Facebook hack sends messages over Messenger to your friends, encouraging them to click on a link.

Will I ever get my Facebook back after being hacked? ›

If your account has been compromised, go to It will ask for the phone number you used to create the account. Facebook will assist you in regaining access to your account and will advise you on future security measures.

Can I check if my Facebook has been hacked? ›

Click on Settings & Privacy -> Settings. In the left-hand menu, click on Security and Login and Where You're Logged In will appear. Check all the devices that have logged into your account and from what locations. If you see an unfamiliar device or location, then your account may have been hacked.

What is the lawsuit against Facebook for hacked accounts? ›

Facebook, which is owned by Meta, reached a $725 million class-action settlement this week over claims it shared users' data without their consent. Millions of people can fill out a claim form to get a slice of the settlement amount.

What are the 2 possible signs that you have been hacked? ›

Some of the most common signs of a hack are as follows.
  • Password reset emails. ...
  • Random popups. ...
  • Contacts receiving fake emails or text messages from you. ...
  • Redirected internet searches. ...
  • Computer, network, or internet connection slows down. ...
  • Ransomware messages.
Mar 13, 2023

What do hackers want when they hack? ›

Stolen personal information is fuel for identity theft

Many online services require users to fill in personal details such as full name, home address and credit card number. Criminals steal this data from online accounts to commit identity theft, such as using the victim's credit card or taking loans in their name.

What do hackers look for when they hack? ›

While passport information sells for the most amount of money, Social Security numbers are the most valuable to hackers, as these can be used for tax fraud, opening credit accounts, and other malicious activities.

What are the changes in Facebook 2023? ›

In 2023, Facebook plans to further expand its VR and AR offerings, including new features and applications that will change the way people engage with the platform. As virtual and augmented reality become more prevalent, businesses will need to think about how they can use these technologies to engage with followers.

What is the new update for Facebook? ›

Facebook is launching Reels, a new video-sharing feature that allows users to upload short videos with text annotations in the Facebook app. It's available now for U.S. users and will expand globally over the next few months on iOS and Android devices.

How do I contact Facebook support? ›

On the desktop site, look up at the top right corner of the screen. There, you'll see a downward-facing arrow — click it and select Help & support from the dropdown menu. From there, you can select Help Center, Support Inbox, Report a problem, or Check Wi-Fi connection.

Can I see who is looking at my Facebook? ›

Facebook doesn't let people track who views their profile. Third-party apps also can't provide this functionality. If you come across an app that claims to offer this ability, please report the app.

How many times a day does Facebook get hacked? ›

Have you or a friend been the victim of a Facebook hack? You aren't alone. Experts say more than 150,000 accounts are hacked every day. Older adults are frequent targets.

What happens if a friends Facebook account is hacked? ›

When a scammer gets hold of your friend's Facebook account, they get access to that person's friends list. Hackers can then employ phishing techniques, scam other Facebook users, and spread malware to you and everyone else on that person's Facebook friends list.

How long does it take a hacker to hack your account? ›

On average it only takes a hacker two seconds to crack an 11 – character password that only uses numbers. But if you throw in some upper and lower-case letters in there that number changes, taking the hacker 1 minute to hack into a seven-character password.

How do hackers hack your phone? ›

How can someone hack my phone?
  • Phishing. Phishing is a targeted cyberattack that lures victims into clicking a malicious link, downloading a dangerous attachment, or sending personal or other sensitive information. ...
  • Tracking software. ...
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. ...
  • SIM swap attack. ...
  • USB cable. ...
  • Trojans. ...
  • Cryptominers. ...
  • Pop-ups.
Jan 26, 2023

Why do people hack? ›

While some hackers do it for fame, because they're disgruntled ex-employees or because they view hacking as sport, the majority of cyber criminals do it for the money. Verizon's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report found that 86% of the data breaches they analysed were financially motivated.

What are the dangers of being hacked? ›

What are things that a hacker can do to me?
  • Hijack your usernames and passwords.
  • Steal your money and open credit card and bank accounts in your name.
  • Ruin your credit.
  • Request new account Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) or additional credit cards.
  • Make purchases.

What happens if you reply to a hacked Facebook message? ›

They may get your name, address as well as other details, which could enable hackers to steal your cash or your identity. The best way to safeguard yourself from hacking attempts is to take sophisticated security measures for your Facebook account.

What if someone hacked my Facebook and changed my email? ›

Note: If the email associated with your Facebook account has changed, you can reverse this. When an email is changed, we send a message to the previous email account with a special link. You can click this link to reverse the email change and secure your account.

Does changing Facebook password stop hackers? ›

After Discovering You've Opened Malware or You've Been Phished. Changing your passwords may not mitigate all the damage from malware or a successful phishing expedition. Still, it can keep future attackers or scammers from accessing your accounts or impersonating you further.

What do hackers do with your Facebook page? ›

In such cases, your hacker might send nasty messages to your friends, expose private pictures, or delete all your contacts. On other occasions, the aim is more commercial. You might get blackmailed. The most common cases of social media-jacking aren't personal.

Can I tell if I have been hacked? ›

You get signed out of your online accounts (social media, email, online banking, etc.), or you try to log in and discover your passwords don't work anymore. You receive emails or text messages about login attempts, password resets, or two-factor authentication (2FA) codes that you didn't request.

Can you sue Facebook for locking your account? ›

Besides suing in small claims court, you can also file a business complaint against Facebook for disabling your account with one of the following government or nongovernment organizations: The Federal Trade Commission.

Can I sue Facebook for security breach? ›

Possibly. If you have experienced a leak of sensitive information, consult with a knowledgeable data breach lawyer. Since the Facebook data breach, three California residents filed a suit on behalf of 87 million Facebook users.

Can you sue for being hacked? ›

Personal Data Breach Lawsuits

Regardless of the reason or cause for a security breach, victims have the right to file a claim against a company for failing to protect their information. Such claims can often lead to a class action lawsuit.

What happens when your social media is hacked? ›

Your social media account can be hacked in a number of ways, such as through a phishing scam or by downloading a malicious app. Once a hacker has access to your account, they can do a lot of damage, like stealing your personal information, posting offensive content or contacting your friends and family.

Can hackers see what you are doing? ›

Hackers are always eager to infect your device with malware and trojans. By installing keyloggers on your phone, a cybercriminal can monitor your activity and secretly view your login data for websites and apps.

How are all my accounts getting hacked? ›

Keylogger programs enable hackers to spy on you, as the malware captures everything you type. Once inside, the malware can explore your computer and record keystrokes to steal passwords. When they get enough information, hackers can access your accounts, including your email, social media, and online banking.

What do hackers hate the most? ›

5 Things Hackers Don't Want You to Know
  • They look for an in, both online and offline. ...
  • They like lazy people. ...
  • Your vanity can be used against you.
  • The more you put online, the easier you are to hack.
  • The more you put online, the easier you are to hack.
  • You aren't invincible.
  • You aren't invincible.
  • You aren't invincible.
Jun 27, 2014

What can a hacker do with your phone number? ›

What Can Hackers Do with Your Phone Number?
  • Reroute your text messages.
  • Steal your personal information.
  • Take over your phone with a SIM swap scam.
  • Send you text scams and malware.
  • Doxxing that leads to harassment and fraud.
  • Blackmail you using your sensitive data.
  • Target you with phone scams using spoofed caller ID numbers.

What is usually hackers intentions? ›

Hacking refers to activities that seek to compromise digital devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and even entire networks. Hackers are motivated by personal gain, to make a statement, or just because they can. PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HACKERS. Cybersecurity Basics.

Can hackers see your screen? ›

Can a hacker access my computer camera, microphone, and screen? Yes. Cybercriminals use malware like spyware to remotely access and control your camera, microphone, and screen. In fact, malicious actors often use camera and microphone recordings to blackmail people.

Can you track a hacker? ›

Most hackers will understand that they can be tracked down by authorities identifying their IP address, so advanced hackers will attempt to make it as difficult as possible for you to find out their identity.

How do hackers get away with it? ›

Hackers will often use secure software such as a proxy server to hide their identity and funnel their communications through lots of different countries in order to evade detection. Other technologies like Tor and encryption enable them to add multiple layers to mask their identity.

How do you make sure your Facebook posts are seen by all your friends? ›

Below your name, tap the audience selector (example: Share with: Your Friends). Tap the circle to the right of the audience you'd like to see your content (example: Friends, Public or Only Me). Learn more about the audiences you can choose on Facebook.

How do I get my Facebook posts seen? ›

The key is to make sure your posts go up at a variety of times throughout the day so that you reach more of your followers. If you can manage to plan for two to three posts a day — morning, afternoon and evening — you'll have visible engagement.

How do I make my post appear first on Facebook? ›

Here are a few simple things you can do to have your content show up:
  1. Post with a consistent frequency. ...
  2. Use calls-to-action wisely. ...
  3. Post appropriate sized images. ...
  4. Post a variety of types of content. ...
  5. Find the best time to post on Facebook. ...
  6. Keep your content relevant to your brand.
Sep 6, 2022

How does Facebook decide which friends posts I see? ›

Posts that you see higher in Feed are influenced by your connections and activity on Facebook. The number of comments, likes and reactions a post receives and what kind of post it is (example: photo, video, status update) can also make it more likely to appear higher up in your Feed.

What is the best time to post on Facebook? ›

Overall best time to post on Facebook

Based on an analysis of 30,000 social media posts, Hootsuite found: The best overall time to post on Facebook is between 8 a.m. and noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Of course, you'll need to think about the time zones in which your audience lives when planning these posting times.

How do you see everything someone posted on Facebook? ›

Scroll down to Friends and tap the name of the friend list. You'll see a feed with a series of posts from people on your list. This may include posts they've shared, posts they reacted to or posts they've been tagged in.

Why is my Facebook feed only showing a few posts? ›

If your Facebook feed doesn't appear to be showing the most recent posts, or if some posts which are shared to your Facebook page are missing, then the most likely explanation is that those posts in your feed may be shared from a user's personal Facebook profile or a Facebook page which has an age or location ...

Why do I only see ads on Facebook and no post from my friends? ›

You may be seeing more ads on Facebook all of a sudden because of ad retargeting. Facebook will use your browsing history from other websites to give you more relevant ads.

Can you be friends on Facebook but not see their posts? ›

You can hide someone's posts or unfollow that person, which means you remain "friends" but no longer see their posts on your News Feed. You also have the ability to snooze someone's posts for 30 days.

What day of the week is best to post on Facebook? ›

The overall best day is Wednesday. You will get the most consistent engagement on weekdays from 9 am–3 pm. The worst day is Sunday, which sees the least amount of engagement. You will find the lowest engagement during early mornings and evenings before 7 am and after 5 pm each day.


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