RSS-ify my Facebook news feed?
May 10, 2018 4:38 AM   Subscribe

This morning Facebook is trying out a new "feature" in my news feed: after about ten posts from people or pages I have actually friended or subscribed to, it stops showing me activity that I specifically signed up to view, and instead shows random crap labelled "Posts from around Facebook". I.e., paid content.

This is in line with earlier changes to the news feed algorithm, of course, that took it from a simple chronological display of all of my friends/pages updates to arbitrarily deciding for me which friends I should want to see updates from, and then which updates from those friends I should want to see. Yeah they say that you can set your news feed display options to "chronological" instead of their popularity-based selection algorithm, but somehow no matter how many times I've clicked that option, it always switches back to the non-chronological display after a while (probably when they do their next update or algorithm tweak). Lately, for whatever reason, the algorithm has been showing me largely posts that have some sort of time-sensitive component (stuff relating to people's birthdays, or events)... but, like, days to weeks after it was actually relevant.

In other words, the news feed is now no more useful than if my friends and pages I follow all had individual blogs and web pages that I had to go look at separately in order to get updates. And it is less useful than an RSS feed. So obviously everyone should switch to tiny letter or blogs with RSS feeds! Of course, that's not going to happen in the near future.

... which got me thinking, though: surely someone has written (or has the skills to write) some sort of script that could crawl the Facebook walls of the friends and pages I tell it I want to see updates from, and download them into a nice RSS-type feed? Basically just automating that process of clicking through to individual Facebook walls that I would otherwise have to do myself? Fellow Mefites, please point me toward this tool if it exists, or make this happen.
posted by eviemath to Technology (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Not that hasn’t been banned iirc.

Use the friend group thing, put all your friends in one group, and read them that way. Cuts out that chaff quite a lot.

You’ll read on a link like this:

Where that number is your own group.
posted by tilde at 4:41 AM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think you could do something close to this with Facebook Purity.
posted by damayanti at 4:47 AM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Before going full-on download-the-rss, try Facebook Purity as damayanti suggests. That's what I use. I see no ads of any kind, no "suggested" anything, no menus on either side of of my news feed, and it shows me every post chronologically based on most recent activity. It's the only way to Facebook.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:32 AM on May 10, 2018

If the RSS option doesn't work out, you can also try changing your Facebook bookmark to This forces your feed to "Most Recent" (i.e., chronological), so at least you'll be able to see everything in order.

I did this about a year or two ago and it hasn't changed back to "Top Stories" since.
posted by Woodroar at 5:34 AM on May 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

You might be interested in the answers to my question from a few months ago though unfortunately I am pretty sure that I'm still not seeing what I want, which is simply most/all posts from my friends and groups I follow, in reverse chronological order.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 7:08 AM on May 10, 2018

Uh, this is a problem I didn’t know was solvable! Is there a Facebook purity type thing for an iPhone??
posted by Valancy Rachel at 8:10 AM on May 10, 2018

For years I have used a free online app called Facebook Atom feeds to poll and RSS-ify (well, Atom-ify really, but same difference) my Facebook news feed. Reading your feed in your feed reader of choice instead of via Facebook means that their silly presentation "features" (like the one irking you) go out the window. And you end up with something that is much more like a straight-up reverse chron than anything Facebook will offer you.
posted by /\/\/\/ at 9:07 AM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Friend groups as tilde suggests worked great for me until recently. Unfortunately, of late, it gives me the most recent dozen posts or so properly, and then completely random stuff after that. It is all “friend” posts rather than ads, but not the most recent. (Several months ago it also stopped ignoring the apps I told it to in this view so I’ve been subjected to Spotify and random game posts again.) So worth a try, but if it doesn’t work it’s not just you.
posted by metasarah at 11:34 AM on May 10, 2018

I have Facebook Purity and it doesn't really solve the problem; it still doesn't show me all the posts from all my friends (and lately the posts it does show are not even close to chronological order). I often use the FB app on my phone and see a bunch of posts from friends that I missed on my laptop, or visit a friend's page and see they posted several times but none of the posts made it onto my timeline.
posted by lazuli at 3:57 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding the solution in the very first comment: create a friends list with all* of your friends in it, then catch up using that list, NOT the main news feed. It's in reverse chronological order so you can scroll down to where you left off a few days ago. You get less promoted posts, and see NONE of the other stuff your friends might have liked or commented on. The latter means you won't have to see the stupid political sh-t that your ranty friend comments on all day, but you'll still see that friend's own posts.

* all, quietly leaving out the few people whose posts annoy you
posted by intermod at 3:57 PM on May 10, 2018

What lazuli said. FB Purity does not solve the problem of not seeing all your friends' posts. I often hear updates about someone's life in person before I see it on Facebook.
posted by AFABulous at 3:25 PM on May 11, 2018

Seconding the solution in the very first comment: create a friends list with all* of your friends in it, then catch up using that list, NOT the main news feed. It's in reverse chronological order so you can scroll down to where you left off a few days ago.

How do you get it to sort in reverse chronological order? It doesn't do that for me, the posts are all mixed up.
posted by Preserver at 5:13 PM on May 11, 2018

And I created a list with all my friends in it, and I'm still not seeing all their posts, though I'm seeing more than with FB Purity (again, that's on both a computer with FB Purity and one without). In frustration yesterday, I "unliked" almost all of the pages I was following, and it greatly increased the number of friends' posts I was seeing (though it seemed to take overnight for FB to recalibrate), but it's still not showing me every post.
posted by lazuli at 9:14 PM on May 11, 2018

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