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Facebook’s Algorithm Is Limiting What You See Online

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Like most puzzles, the clues to cracking Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm lie in the algorithm itself. Once you understand how it works, cracking it is a piece of cake. Here’s what the algorithm looks like when it’s translated from mathematical symbols to simple words.

EdgeRank = Popularity x Relevance x Recency

Here’s how to do it…

1. Change Your Newsfeed Settings

Shockingly, when you tell Facebook what you want, it gives it to you. The problem is most people don’t know how to talk to Facebook. But we have your back. Open up your Facebook Homepage and find the word ‘Newsfeed’ in the top left corner. See those precious 3 dots ‘…’ next to ‘Newsfeed’? Click on those and select ‘Edit Preferences’.

Now you can choose who you want to see first. Pick your favourite news, sports and entertainment pages (don’t forget to pick WTD News #ShamelessPlug), pick your best friends, closet family or even that random acquaintance who knows just how to tickle your funny bone. You can also choose who to see less, which might be the best way to avoid that cousin who posts daily updates saying “Awww, look how quickly my little bacha is growing!”

After making these changes you might notice that you see way more from the news, sports and entertainment pages. This is because according to this report, person-to-person sharing has fallen by 5.5%, which means that Facebook has now become less about sharing personal messages and more about consuming content from digital publishers. Even though the algorithm was recently changed to show posts by friends and family before brands and news outlets, the sheer volumes and frequency of posts by organizations make it less effective when you select those you want to ‘see first’.

2. Send Facebook Subliminal Messages

Not only does Facebook listen to your direct instructions, it’s especially good at understanding subliminal messages. This means you need to engage with the content you want to see more of. Translation: NO MORE PASSIVE SCROLLING. You’ve got to start liking everything that even mildly interests you, react to things on Facebook that cause a reaction IRL. If you really want to see something show up on your newsfeed more often, throw cause to the wind and comment or share it.

Mark Zuckerberg started 2018 by saying that the only way to really use Facebook is to actively participate on the platform. Of course, that sound like something the Founder of Facebook would want you to do, but considering how EdgeRank works, it’s actually not such a bad idea.

3. Filter Your ‘Friends’

Way back in 2011, Facebook launched something they like to call the ‘Special Friends List’. And when it comes to taking back control of your newsfeed and showing EdgeRank the finger, the Special Friends feature is godsent.

You know how sometimes you see a post by someone on your newsfeed and you find that you don’t even recognize them. Unfriend all these people. If you’re worried about their feeling or your friend count, at least unfollow them. These are the people that truly clutter your newsfeed and keep you from seeing updates posted by people you actually care about.

You know how sometimes you realized your friends with someone but you find that the word ‘friend’ is actually quite a stretch as a term to define your relationship. Guess what? Facebook allows you to downgrade someone from a ‘friend’ to an ‘acquaintance’. You can do this by going to their profile, finding the button that says ‘Friends’ on the top right corner and changing it to ‘Acquaintance’. Now you’ll see fewer posts from these people. You can also upgrade people to being ‘Close Friends’ so you can see more posts from them.

4. Ditch The Newsfeed

If you’ve done all of the above, but you’re still unsatisfied with how your newsfeed looks, we have one more ultimate solution for you – ditch the newsfeed completely and discover all the other cool things you can do on Facebook.

First, you’ll need a replacement for all your news consumption. Download a couple of reliable news apps, one for domestic, one for international news and turn on notifications for these apps.

Now that that’s over, explore other parts of Facebook, like groups. Join groups that are associated with your hobbies, interests and profession. They’re great places to meet new people, make plans, and even find jobs or clients. Facebook is also great for finding interesting events (concerts, markets and festivals) around you or organise events yourself.

Biggest takeaway? Everything around your newsfeed on your homepage can be wayyyy more helpful than the newsfeed is.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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