The number of hits on this site dropped by three-quarters yesterday – possibly because of interference by Facebook.

At first I assumed I was just having a slow day. Sometimes it just seems that people decide, en masse, to take a break. And that’s fine, as long as they come back later.

But then I looked at some of the other, more popular sites, and compared their FB shares. All were down.

So, yesterday evening, I asked the question: “Why aren’t you sharing the articles today, folks? Is the button broken, or what?”

It turns out that most respondents hadn’t even seen them; they had not appeared on those readers’ feeds, even though they were following Vox Political on Facebook.

Fortunately, other readers had an answer:

It seems that “Facebook are trying to shut down [alternative] media by reducing auto sharing to followers”.

In other words, bizarre as it seems, if you follow a favourite FB page, you become less likely to see items posted on it! How mad is that?

Apparently, “You have to go onto the main page, click on ‘following’, then opt for ‘see first'” rather than ‘default’. Otherwise you won’t see links to This Site’s articles, and I understand the same applies to other social media sites like Another Angry Voice, Skwawkbox, The Canary and so on.

Another commenter suggested: “New FB algorithms might be to blame. Do your posts ask for shares/likes? If so then they are likely being prevented from appearing on folks’ feeds.”

How bizarre – it seems Facebook is actually trying to reduce its own popularity.

Think about it. Social media sites like VP are legion on Facebook. We all know that the best way for a decent article to be seen is for people who like it to put it in front of their friends, and Facebook is the default system for enabling that to happen.

Measures like those mentioned above would reduce people’s use of Facebook, making it less popular. It doesn’t make commercial sense.

It is possible to speculate that Mr Zuckerberg’s minions may have been approached by a third party (the Tory Party? Conservatives know they are well behind the Left when it comes to social media presence) with a financial offer to do this – but that would still leave Facebook out-of-pocket in the long run.

For now, it seems, the only solution is to do as advised: Visit the main Vox Political page on Facebook, click on the button that says ‘Follow/Following’, then click on the option ‘see first’.

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