CLEMMONS PASS, MISSOURI — Though she doesn’t consider herself someone who has to spend a lot of time on social media, 41 year old Lori McMichaels says she’s noticed something over the last year. The amount of time Lori spends on Facebook has grown exponentially, and she says she believes she has finally nailed down why she can’t seem to get away from the social media titan that is currently facing enormous scrutiny from users and the federal government for its role in the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.
“This weekend, I decided to clear my schedule and just get out a stopwatch before I logged onto Facebook,” McMichales told us via Skype. “When I logged in, as always I noticed it was showing me links and memes from at least a day ago, but usually more like four days to a week ago. Why I was seeing my friend Kathy thanking us for birthday wishes she got two weeks ago, I’ll never understand.”
So Lori says she did what she always does to fix the problem of what Facebook’s algorithm was putting in her news feed.
“I went into the options and set my feed for Most Recent,” Lori said. “And I went about scrolling through my timeline until I found something my friend Susan had posted about breastfeeding. When I got done with the article, I shared it too because it was quite informative and interesting.”
But that’s when, Lori says, things took a turn for the worse…the extremely boring worse.
“I clicked back into my news feed, after I shared the article, and I noticed I was seeing old ass posts again,” Lori said. “It took me all of four minutes to read the article. Somehow, in that four minutes, Facebook decided I didn’t want to see the most current stuff in my friends’ and family’s lives, I needed to see the shit from a week or more ago.”
Frustrated, Lori says she set her feed back to “Most Recent,” and clicked over to a Facebook page dedicated to cats that she enjoys.
“I just really love pictures of cats, videos of cats, you name it,” Lori said. “If it’s about cats, I’m probably going to love it. So I spent, oh, I don’t know, ten minutes browsing the latest posts from the page. Then I clicked back to my feed, and wouldn’t you fuckin’ know it.”
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The feed had been set back to “Top Stories” again. Lori says she spent the next sixteen hours doing the same dance with the same setting. She has been doing this for the last week straight, and wasted her entire vacation doing so, Lori says.
“Why the hell don’t they trust me to see what I want to see when I want to see it? Won’t their ads show up in everyone’s content regardless,” Lori asked rhetorically. “Seems like Facebook is greedy as hell and as a result, I spend most of my time changing that one. Damn. Setting.”
She will stay with Facebook, Lori says, but she sure would love to try a social media network that isn’t run by an algorithm.
“I mean, I’m an adult, so I kinda feel like I know what I’d want to see or not see,” Lori said, “and that Facebook should be able to figure out a way to make money of my data while still letting me see — mostly — what I want.”
Reached for comment, Facebook gave us a statement saying they were “very sorry Human Unit 1,345,725” is experiencing this issue, but that they are “not going to do anything about it because [they] don’t really care, actually.”
This story is developing.