Filtering trending tweets

A Twitter search filtering tip.

You can filter tweets with a specific hashtag to find any from people or organisations you follow, potentially more relevant.

For example, today: #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek, this URL shows you tweets including that hashtag from people you follow only:

You can filter tweets with a specific hashtag to find any from people or organisations you follow

journalism, news, publishing, socialmedia

Facebook’s News Feed changes leave publishers with strategies to rethink and a tougher battle against fake news

Facebook spelled out in Scrabble letter tiles
Facebook changes have left publishers with an unexpected challenge to start 2018

Publishers have been dealt a head-scratching start to 2018, following confirmation of Facebook’s previously tested News Feed changes, shifting directly posted news out of the main News Feed, leaving many strategies with an unexpected hole to plug (‘translated’ here for in layman’s terms by Adam Tinworth).

Essentially it boils down to this, from  Facebook’s own post ‘News Feed FYI: Bringing People Closer Together’, the killer blow in bold:

Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.

As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.

But amongst the issues and talking points, there could now be serious problems for official sources and publishers given a scenario where a person shares a post containing a bogus fact or fake news (whether intentional or not), appearing happily on any users News Feed, but a post from an official organisation or publisher responding, clarifying or verifying this incorrect post, would under the new logic, gain far less traction compared to the ‘popular’ post and have to work far harder to reach all those that would have seen the original. Thus reversing work done and and commitments to battle fake news by Facebook itself.

For example, the New York Times highlights:

“A bogus news story that spread in December illustrates the problem, Mr. Struharik said. The story claimed that a Muslim man had thanked a good Samaritan for returning his lost wallet, and had warned the Samaritan of a terrorist attack that was planned at a Christmas market.

The fabricated story circulated so widely that the local police issued a statement saying it wasn’t true. But when the police went to issue the warning on Facebook, they found that the message — unlike the fake news story they meant to combat — could no longer appear on News Feed because it came from an official account.”

As Frederic Filloux points out in his latest Monday Note post,”Facebook is done with quality journalism. Deal with it.” after all the troubles with ‘fake news and bad PR‘:

“Facebook has all the reasons in the world to get rid of journalism:

As acknowledged several times by Mark Zuckerberg, news doesn’t share well, compared to friends and family posts, while the entire Facebook model is based on the speed of sharing, multiplied by its two billion users, and coupled to an unparalleled knowledge of each one.”

Some interesting thoughts, amongst the various musings on ‘what do we do now’ posts from across media landscape, on amended strategies for publishers, from Lara O’Reilly at the WSJ (via Twitter), HT to Adam Tinworth – will be interesting to see how these might develop:

How publishers will react: 🔵

  • Facebook Groups prioritised 🔵
  • More journalists will be encouraged to have public profile pages 🔵
  • “Tell us what you think in the comments!”

As Facebook outline:

Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.

Essentially, for publishers, these News Feed changes mean a renewed focus on making your own site’s content as engaging, shareable (in both a technical and emotive sense) and SEO-friendly.

Relying heavily on traffic from and an audience via Facebook was always going to be a gamble. ultimately they are a profit-driven business, so whatever changes they’ve made or concessions might have come along for public organisations, the bottom line will always be the bottom line.

The goal posts have shifted, as we always knew they would. Publishers’ must battle on.

content, news, publishing, socialmedia, strategy

Latest Facebook change to tackle ‘engagement bait’ – a warning to publishers

Another week, another Facebook change, but this “Page-level demotion” should be significant for publishers, as the battle against fake news rounds upon ‘engagment bait’.

Facebook will “…begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed.”, with changes rolling out over the next few weeks.

So now is the time to adapt and “avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts.”

Headline writing and related social posts just got harder for some publishers and some publishing strategies just took a hit.

Potential impact

Publishers using “engagement bait tactics in their posts should expect their reach on these posts to decrease.

“Pages that repeatedly share engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach.”

“Pages should avoid headlines that withhold information required to understand what the content of the article is and headlines that exaggerate the article to create misleading expectations.”

Facebook are directing publishers to “focus on posting relevant and meaningful stories that do not use engagement bait tactics.”

This is where it might get hazy, the line between one man’s ‘engagement tactic’ using an element of teasing the reader or highlighting a keyword or name to catch their eye amongst the unending stream of content, can be another’s murky and misleading clickbait.

One strategy, of withholding elements of a story in aheadline, might have to be rethought: “People expect the stories in their feed to be meaningful to them. When the headline of a story is missing information, people tend to find that misleading, sensational and spammy.”, although how Facebook will know if this has occured is an interesting point.

Do’s and don’ts for Facebook posting

More detail from Facebook on how they suggest publishers approach posting on the platform – Facebook will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed – more from News Feed Guidelines:

DO’s of Facebook publishing:

Continue to publish your work to Facebook, personalising the message to your readers, creating engaging posts – ways to do this include:

  • Ask a question about the subject matter of the story to encourage commenting
  • Pick out a key quote from the body of the story that will compliment the headline
  • Ensure your headline/post encourages readers to click rather than giving the full story – but DON’T stray into click-bait headlines (see below)
  • Continue to publish posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause, or asking for travel tips – these will not be adversely impacted by the Facebook update.
  • Ask people to ‘Spread the word’ rather than share
  • Remind people to ‘Tell a friend’ or ‘Warn a loved one’
  • Ensure you upload an image to your Facebook post to ensure a widescreen preview rather than a thumbnail picture.

DON’TS of Facebook publishing:

  • Publish headlines that withhold information intentionally leave out crucial details or mislead people, forcing them to click to find out the answer. For example, “When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS…”
  • Publish headlines that exaggerate the details of a story with sensational language tend to make the story seem like a bigger deal than it really is. For example, “WOW! Ginger tea is the secret to everlasting youth. You’ve GOT to see this!
  • Ask readers to ‘Tag a friend who would do this’ as Facebook see this as ‘Tag Baiting
  • Ask readers to comment or react in a certain way – Facebook sees this as ‘Comment Baiting’ or ‘Vote Baiting’
journalism, news, socialmedia

newsrewired snapshots for digital journalists: fake news war, live video, data vis, and robots

I wasn’t at the news:rewired digital news conference yesterday, 8 February, but the updates were so excellent, and adding to a timeline in Twitter Moments was surprisingly easy.

content, news, publishing, socialmedia

Facebook not a publisher, but with 1.8bn users comes responsibility

An introduction from a Business Insider article:

“Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner sat down with Andreas Dietrich of the Swiss publication Blick and discussed the issue of fake news and Facebook’s part in it.

“Döpfner believes Facebook should not have to sort out hoaxes from real news because it is a distributor of news — not a publisher.” Read more at

Facebook is indeed, not directly a news organisation, and clearly dealing with the sources of fake or ‘alternative’ news would be the ultimate solution.

But to ignore the amount of ‘news’ being posted, shared, and commented on by such a huge social network without acknowledging and taking some basic responsibility in blocking factually incorrect stories would be letting down it’s user base to say the least.

content, publishing, socialmedia

Twitter timeline ch-ch-ch-changes, where are we now?

So the rumours have come to fruition, a big change has begun arriving to our Twitter timelines, where we are shown an algorithm-driven stream of tweets as opposed to the current live feed unsullied by machines. The ‘best tweets first’ view is starting to appear as an option for web viewers, although users need to enable it under Settings for now – this will most likely change to the default at some point, with app updates no doubt incoming.

I’m unsure as to what the outcome will be in terms of use of the service, but #RIPTwitter was/is probably a bit premature.

From a Mashable post on the change:

The company pushed out an update Wednesday that makes its much-talked-about timeline redesign official. The new feature, which is live on Twitter’s app and website now, will show tweets that are sorted based on relevancy, rather than chronology, at the top of your timeline.

For journalists and marketers, there are other ways to view Twitter in a more focused or unfiltered fashion, Twitter lists and Tweetdeck being two solid options, see more here from FirstDraft: 10 ways local journalists can better cover their patch.

It is an inevitable conclusion to the problem of Twitter not drawing enough new users, alongside changes including the Favourites signified by stars morphing into hearts, meaning people were now ‘liking’ updates Facebook-style.

This was much to the annoyance of some (myself included) at the perception and way people had originally been using the favourite option, myself regularly as a means of bookmarking tweets to come back and view later. But we got over it and moved on, we may well do the same regarding the timeline rebirth.

Facebook users still use the service despite being delivered an artificially molded stream of updates based on various parameters. Although, via Mathew Ingram on

A survey by researchers from the University of Illinois showed that 60% of users didn’t even know that Facebook filters their feed at all.

But as Mathew Ingram points out aboutalgorithms being helpful for some,they come with risks:

By definition, algorithmic filtering means that you are not the one who is choosing what to see and not see… And while this may be helpful—because of the sheer volume of content out there—it comes with biases and risks

It’s never perfect, content of real interest fails to appear high up in people’s timelines, but we survive, and there is the option to view by ‘Most Recent’ under the Settings options.

But more widely what happens if this doesn’t work? A sale on the cards surely, and then a more uncertain future… the danger is, will it kill what makes Twitter ‘fun’ – more from Mashable?:

Twitter’s struggle, though, is that most people are not like me; they never got over platform’s messy nature. I’ve always believed that hashtags, which arrived after Twitter’s launch, were an excellent organizing principle. When Twitter figured out how to display trending hashtags, I thought it was a godsend. But it wasn’t enough for regular people who, perhaps, still associated the hashtag with telephones.

Twitter has been trying for years to make the service more obvious and accessible, right up to the new Moments, a feature they’ve force fed to existing users and one that has failed to inspire new ones.

In theory at least, the timeline change helps authenticated blue-ticked profiles which should benefit from being more prominently displayed (presuming they are tweeting interesting/topical content in the right way, nudge nudge!)

Blue pill or red pill: Which timeline is for you?

I just hope that switching between the algorithm and live timeline view is relatively easy.

Timeline control details from support:


  1. Log in to your account on and go to your Account settings page.
  2. Under Content, look for Timeline and toggle the box next to Show me the best Tweets first to change the setting.

Twitter for iOS:

  1. On your profile, tap the gear icon  and select Settings.
  2. Tap the account whose settings you’d like to adjust.
  3. Under Timeline, tap Timeline personalization.
  4. Next to Show me the best Tweets first, tap to turn it off.

Twitter for Android:

  1. Tap the overflow icon 
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Timeline.
  4. Next to Show me the best Tweets first, uncheck the box to turn it off.

Further reading: 5 facts you need to know, from