How to Keep Seeing Autostraddle in Your Facebook Feed

Maybe you’ve heard Facebook changed its algorithm again. Maybe not. Maybe you are blissfully unaware that Facebook uses a super secret, convoluted calculation to determine what to show you in your Facebook feed. For the last few years that algorithm has taken into account what the type of posts and which publishers you interact with and click on, the number of likes and loves a post has, and the place a post falls in the current cultural zeitgeist. Posts with lots of thumbs up about trending topics shot right to the top of everyone’s news feed, for example.

Even though we were never able to compete with other venture capital-funded LGBT websites or venture capital-funded mainstream websites with LGBT verticals — because we don’t have the budget to “boost” our posts like they do — we were doing pretty good with Facebook’s algorithm. In fact, a little over 20% of our traffic comes from Facebook.

Why is my Facebook feed just Drudge Report headlines now?!

Facebook’s New Algorithm

Facebook’s throwing that old algorithm out the window in favor of a new one that prioritizes:

Posts by your friends and family

Posts that have a lot of comments

Posts that have a lot of shares

(Especially posts shared by and commented on by your friends and family)

Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook higher ups claim its because they want to help Facebook users make authentic connections again, but it seems more likely that they’re trying to curb the chatter that they didn’t do anything to stop a foreign government from installing a moronic, narcissistic, amoral, compromised autocrat in the White House. And, of course, the money. It seems likely Facebook is trying to find a way to force brands and publishers to spend money to boost their posts, as well as keeping you on your Facebook feed longer interacting with posts so they can charge more for the ads they show you while you’re fighting with your Aunt Sally’s second husband about gun control.

What Facebook’s New Algorithm Means for Autostraddle

The change is going to be an issue for a lot of publishers, but it poses a unique challenge for us. There’s the fact that we don’t have the budget to pay Facebook to let you see our posts, of course, but there’s also that fact that we’re a publication for minorities. Let’s be generous and say there are three queer people in your family and all of you follow Autostraddle. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of straight and mainstream publishers your friends and family probably collectively follow — especially if your friends and family are conservative — which means Facebook will prioritize those publishers in your feed because your friends and family will spend more time commenting on and sharing them.

And then there’s the thing we’ve always struggled with: our readers are much less likely to share our posts on Facebook than their straight friends and family who share posts from not-gay sources without thinking twice, and our readers are much less likely to comment on our posts on Facebook (because why risk getting into a fight with your homophobic cousin when you can click through and comment on this warm blanket of a website?). It’s safer here for our specific readership, and not just metaphorically, because we can moderate comments and ban anyone who engages in harassing, bullying, or bigoted behavior. We also don’t require that people use their real names and photos, in case it’s unsafe for them to even be out on the internet. While the websites we’re competing with have the resources to pay people to engage with commenters and moderate comments on Facebook, we definitely don’t. We don’t even have the resources to pay for a dedicated social media manager or team.

That top line is what Facebook formerly used to calculate our place in its algorithm. Now it’s that bottom line.

We’re already seeing a hit from the implementation of this new algorithm and it’s only a little over a week old. Before the algorithm change, an average day for us on Facebook meant about 30,000 people saw at least one of our posts. Since the change, only about 16,000 people a day are seeing at least one of our posts. Prior to the change, an average of 10,000 people saw each of our posts on their Facebook page; after the change, an average of 5,000 people are seeing each of our posts on their Facebook page.

What You Can Do

There are a few things you can do to make sure we don’t fall off the earth.

Make sure you’re following us on Facebook.

Share our Facebook posts.

Comment on our Facebook posts.

And, most importantly, personally prioritize us in your news feed. Here’s how.

On a computer, go to Autostraddle’s Facebook page. Click “Follow” (or hover over “Following” if you already follow us) and select “See First.”

Or, on your mobile device: Select the three-line menu in the bottom right-hand corner of iPhone apps/the top right-hand corner of Android apps.

Scroll to the bottom of the menu and select “Settings.”

Select “News Feed Preferences.”

Select “Prioritize who to see first.”

Select Autostraddle and any other pages you want to see first in your feed. The pages/profiles you select will show a blue and white star.

Select “Done!”

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Heather has written 737 articles for us.

32 Comments

  1. Several other indy websites I like are encouraging readers to either a) check your favorite sites by MANUALLY NAVIGATING to them (like a cavewoman) or b) using a good old-fashioned RSS newsreader. Facebook has managed to consolidate an incredible amount of power just by being the one place where everyone goes, but it doesn’t have to be this way!

    • I agree as someone who wants to use facebook to interact with my friends and family, not websites, companies and celebrities I welcome this change

      However I’ve already had autostraddle marked as show first, I’d share more articles, but sadly the vast majority of my friends and family are straight so I don’t feel like they’d care most of the time.

  2. You can also do this by navigating to the Autostraddle Facebook page, tapping on where it (presumably) says “Following” in blue (next to “Liked” and selecting “See First” in the In Your Newsfeed section. Might be easier as you won’t have to scroll through all your friends to find Autostraddle.

  3. Interestingly, when I try to search for you in the “prioritize who to see first” page – you don’t come up as an option. You do come up under pages liked and followed. But, for some reason, I cannot put you as a priority.

  4. Heather, you might not know the answer to this, but does it make a difference in the algorithm if the posts are shared to a private group or on one’s wall?

    If posting to a private group counts, I think that’s something the local AS FB groups can help with / take on. I’m a member of the ChicagoStraddkers FB group and it’s pretty active for a FB group. I’m thinking some sort of AS FB challenge where group members share a fave AS post and why they like it would be fun. Especially if it helped AS.

  5. Another thing is that although we are lucky that most of our traffic is direct, and our day to day numbers are good, what gives us the *great* numbers we need are literally just one or two or three posts a month going viral on Facebook, which’s gonna be harder than ever now. I don’t know what anybody can do about that I just wanted a nice place to complain about it

  6. Another suggestion would be to try and schedule regular posts on Facebook which aren’t links to the website. Facebook tends to deprioritise links to blogs etc, however if you were to post engaging questions like “abc is writing an article about xyz, do you have any stories to share” or behind the scenes photos of writers, or funny pictures from A Camp etc, it might help to grow your organic reach.
    Also video is getting more and more important, particularly live stream. I would love to see little videos of writers saying what they are excited about publishing in the next week, or otherwise being able to hear the voices IRL that I have made up in my head when I read your articles!

    Anyway, i’m sure you’re all over this already! I definitely sympathise, as my own business’s Facebook page has been affected also.

  7. Can we have a Facebook hate-a-thon here? Because I hate Facebook, and I hated it even before it turned out to be a platform for foreign powers to influence US elections. (In fairness to Facebook, the evidence that Facebook in particular and social media in general are major factor’s in Trump’s election is pretty weak. The evidence for Comey and Fox News being responsible is stronger.) But there’s plenty to hate about Facebook, Trump or no Trump. We can start with how it’s sucked all the advertising money away from newspapers, blogs, and independent websites of all sorts. That’s the worst thing it’s done, but selling personal information to advertisers, enabling racist advertising, and being a net drain on human happiness aren’t great either. I particularly hate how now all local social groups and LGBTQ communities are organized on Facebook.

    I don’t really like that Amazon and Google know I’m gay, but at least I feel like I get something for the privacy intrusion. Facebook gives me nothing. I have a Facebook account, which I visit maybe once a year, if that. It’s purely a defensive measure so that I can untag myself from photographs that other people post to make it a little harder to find me. I visit Autostraddle’s site directly often and subscribe to Autostraddle Plus. I wish that was enough.

    • thank you for being an a+ member!

      i also really dislike facebook and decided to stop checking it a few months ago, and have found myself much happier and less stressed out because of it! (i also don’t understand why facebook thinks more comments means more “meaningful conversation” when usually more comments means “endless fights.”) i’ve never been a regular user of facebook aside from a brief burst of activity when a-camp facebook action was at an all-time high, it’s just never really been my thing, but i would check it just because even though i rarely posted anything or chimed in on conversations.

      the problem is not necessarily that our loyal readers won’t find our content — but that without a few posts going facebook viral every month, which relies on non-regular readers seeing our stuff in their feed, our future is honestly terrifying. we’re asking loyal readers to keep us in their feeds though because the more they can help us, the more likely we’ll show up in the feeds of non regular readers. and readers who do regularly access us through facebook will find this information useful too.

      but if you don’t use facebook… trust me, i get it. again, thanks for being an A+ member! i’ve had to start checking it again this week because of all this and i really wish that this wasn’t happening!

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.