The alternate title to this blog could be “Why do I keep getting my irritating cousin’s political rants in my Facebook newsfeed?”

There’s an answer to that question if that’s happening to you, and it comes in the form of a question: “Do you engage with your cousin’s Facebook rants?” Because if the answer is YES, boy, are you in for a revelation – engaging with anything on Facebook changes the algoritithm Facebook uses to determine what pops up in your newsfeed so you get more like it.

Facebook’s Edgerank

We’ve blogged about Edgerank before, but everyone can use a refresher. Likes mean you like it; it means you want more.

Every post on Facebook is assigned a ‘rank’ by the Facebook Edgerank algorithm, and three things determine that “rank”:

  • The affinity with the people who’ve interacted with the poster before

  • The weight of the interactions with the post. Comments are ‘heavier’, for example, than likes

  • The time the post has been around. Older posts lose their edge.

How does Facebook’s Edgerank affect me?

Well, let’s consider a hypothetical. Your cousin leaves a message saying that she keyed somebody’s car. She constantly is posting stuff that you hate seeing – but you don’t want to unsubscribe from her feed or unfriend her. But you have to say something about her egregious disrespect for others, right?

Facebook Edgerank - do not engage


The more you engage with someone, the more Facebook thinks you want to engage with them. You might feel like you have to say something, but if you want to stop seeing her crud in your news feed, your silence is golden.

Facebook Edgerank - do not engage

It might be hard, but by lowering your affinity to the person and not adding any weight to their drivel, you will lower the chances that they show up on their newsfeed.

Conversely, you made a writer friend who always says great things – but you don’t see much of them in your newsfeed. What can you do to change that?

Facebook Edgerank Engage

You can increase your affinity to that person by performing interactions with weight. Don’t just like – Comment!

Why Engagement Matters for Facebook and Edgerank

Edgerank is a flawed algorithm; it doesn’t measure happy interactions vs angry tirades. For an author, it doesn’t distinguish between people you want to network with and those chatty cousins. They only way to change your posts’ Edgerank (and work it in your favor) is to engage.

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