This month, Facebook is instituting changes to its News Feed aimed at re-prioritizing the content you see, substituting news stories for more pictures of your aunt Ethel’s pet bird.

Of the news leftover, Facebook is leaving it up to its users to decide what’s trustworthy, what’s garbage and what specifically they want to see. On a larger scale, Facebook is surveying users about whether or not they’re familiar with selected news sources and whether or not they trust those sources, in an effort to weed out the farcical mumbo jumbo that many still feel stained last year’s election. (That isn’t coming out with a Tide to Go pen.) On a smaller scale, users can pick for themselves what news, especially local news, they still want coming to their News Feed to fill the generally-fewer slots for news left in the algorithm.

Because these changes are more about the science of the News Feed and less about its appearance, the change won’t necessarily be noticeable. I won’t notice if Starbucks changes the brand of whip cream topping my Peppermint Mocha, but you bet I noticed that McDonald’s took the two-cheeseburger value meal off the menu. (No, you go rebuild it off the Dollar Menu.)

As a news source, there’s very little you can do to “win” this Facebook news purge. But you should start by educating your readers about what’s going on and what they can do to keep you in their shrinking news cycle.

Here are the instructions:

  • If they haven’t already, they should “Like” and “Follow” your Facebook page

  • While on your Facebook page, they should hover over “Following” to see some advanced options. Of the choices, “See First” should be marked under “In Your News Feed” and “On (Events, Suggested Live Videos)” also checked, under “Notifications”

  • On their home screen, they should click on the ellipses next to the “News Feed” tab and select “Edit Preferences”

  • Then, select the first option, “Prioritize who to see first,” allowing them to pick/star pages (like yours) and specific friends they’re most interested in seeing updates from

  • There are several additional options they might not have seen here before, including unfollowing and refollowing people and pages, as well as discovering new ones

 

This is likely not the last change Facebook will announce about how news is distributed on its platform, nor then will it be final band-aid for you to apply as a news source.

So, try your best to stay informed as all news organizations try to keep themselves on their readers’ radar.

Thanks to Kathy Habiger, adviser to Mill Valley News, for sharing the story by The Kansas City Star that jolted the idea for this report.

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