Facebook content feed flooded with “happy birthday” posts and celebrity messages

An ill-advised tweak to Facebook’s algorithms has caused posts unrelated to users’ interests to flood the content feed, prompting some users to resort to “extreme” measures.

Faced with an endless stream of likes left on the accounts of celebrities they did (or didn’t) follow, replacing regular News Feed posts altogether, some Facebook users reacted out of frustration by unsubscribing from all the celebrities’ feeds. And some of those already “on the fence” chose to express their displeasure by requesting Facebook account deactivation. Problems have also arisen sporadically for Facebook users in Romania, except that the posts highlighted are related to a “habit” that is followed with sanctity, that of responding at any opportunity to the Facebook suggestion to wish “Happy Birthday”. And since for many of the semi-inactive Facebook accounts this is the only activity found, those posts were “unearthed” in chronological order and displayed as the only Facebook news.

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Apparently at the source of the inconvenience was a configuration error in Facebook’s algorithms responsible for automatically selecting content for display in the News Feed. For example, the platform’s algorithms were supposed to ignore all posts left by fans, highlighting to other users only the rare occasions when a star responded to a fan’s comment. Yesterday, however, the opposite happened, with the platform’s algorithms picking up all the wishes left over time.

But users’ main complaint was that the error deprived them of the usual stream of updates and messages distributed by the pages they subscribe to. Already dissatisfied with the decreasing variety of content and the constant “pollution” with advertisements and sponsored posts, a not-so-small number of users may have decided to leave the social media platform, the consequences of which are expected in future statistics showing the evolution of the proportion of active users.

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