How I made my News Feed better, by blocking the videos Facebook's obsessed with

Mark ZuckerbergJustin Sullivan/GettyFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook and I have very different opinions on what the future of my News Feed should be. 

“We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all of our apps and services,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the company’s most recent earnings call. 

Zuckerberg, who is particularly “obsessed” with live video, added on the same call that he believes that in as soon as five years, “most of what people consume online is going to be video.” 

You’ve probably noticed that the number of autoplay videos in your own News Feed has swelled over the last year or so.

Scrolling through my own Facebook, every third or fourth piece of content was either a native video or a video ad. Facebook saw an explosion in video views. Conclusion: People love videos! 

But, personally, I really, really don’t like them. Whether on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or any other platform, I’d much rather be able to read, scan, or look at a photo quickly than have to stop and watch anything longer than a GIF.  

Also, it bothers me that Facebook has taken such a stand against clickbait in article headlines, but isn’t monitoring video clickbait at all right now.

Despite having that preference, I felt like I was helpless to stop the video-first tide that had taken over my Feed. 

Besides complaining, I would try to scroll past videos fast enough that Facebook wouldn’t count my three second “view,” which I hoped would teach it that I didn’t like watching videos. 

Then I realised that, duh, there was a way better way to explicitly tell Facebook’s mysterious algorithm that I wanted to banish them: I could just start hiding every video post.

So I went on a crusade, clicking “Hide Post” on every single video that crept onto my News Feed. Although there is no way to tell Facebook why you want to hide a particular post, I hoped that the algorithm would figure out what the heck I was trying to tell it. 

And it totally, 100% worked. 

I really don’t see any videos on Facebook anymore, besides video ads, and even those feel fewer and farther between than they were before. I just scrolled through my Facebook feed longer than I would ever scroll in one normal session and my feed was blissfully free of a single one. Instead, I just see photos, texts posts, and articles.  

Obviously, a lot of people do love getting sucked into Facebook videos, but the lesson is hopefully much broader here: If you don’t like something you see on Facebook — videos, long texts posts — be liberal with that Hide button. Facebook’s algorithm is clumsy, and often feels bad at figuring out what you want, but at least trying to tell it is better than doing nothing at all.  

As for me, for the first time in a really, really long time, I actually enjoy my Facebook feed again.

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