Digital Marketing

Twitter & Facebook Don’t Want You Unfollowing People

September 1, 2017

A few months back I began a massive purge on Facebook. I know a lot of people frown upon this as a general practice and I get why. But the fact is with 5,000 “friends” my feed was utterly useless. What I wanted to see is what Facebook determined I shouldn’t see, and what I didn’t care about had completely dominated my feed and notifications.

Plus, were all 5,000 of my “friends” actual friends? Of course not. Not even close. Of those I actually know, connect with and communicate with the actual number was around 150.

So I figured hey, I’ll just remove everyone real quick and start all over from scratch. It didn’t take more than a few minutes to realize Facebook has no interest in helping make this act a user friendly experience. In fact, in my experience Facebook seems to go out of its way to make it as painful and tedious as possible.

Considering that I had to:

  • Manually individually disconnect from each and every connection
  • Constantly reload pages because Facebook wouldn’t properly reload after disconnecting a page full of “friends”
  • Close it out and wait hours for Facebook to let the function even occur again

I basically had to accept that I needed to dedicate 20 minutes a day, for several weeks, to accomplish this mission.

Really, Facebook? One of the most basic functions of your entire site is set up to require WEEKS to get done?

I finally got my “friend list” dwindled down to, you know, actual friends and meaningful relevant connections. My Facebook feed is a whole different world now and I find almost every notification relevant to me. Mission accomplished.

Today I went to do the same on Twitter. Only to find the exact same madness. There is no bulk unfollow feature. Worse, Twitter sets a cap on how many users you can unfollow in the course of an hour. I’m not sure what that cap is, but for me it seemed to be in the hundreds.

When you’re following nearly 6,000 users this is ridiculous.

Now I get that Twitter is trying to clamp down on the spammers who mass follow then unfollow, but my account is many years old and these users were followed years ago. Surely there is a database function algorithm that can easily differentiate between someone trying to do that and someone legitimately just trying to downsize the amount of content coming into the feed by unfollowing a lot of users not relevant to me, right?

It would be ludicrous to assume Twitter isn’t capable of that.

My interpretation of this is that those connections, those follows, are all extremely relevant to their over all data-based business model. Both Facebook and Twitter sell user data and advertising based on the complex information web of said data.

A profitable profile can be built around a user based on who they’re connected with. It can easily give these companies an overview of what kind of topics, products, brands and services groups of users are interested in.

If a user is not connected to many other users, brands or products, Facebook and Twitter can’t assign a higher value to that user. So it’s in their best business interest to keep your web of connections as large and comprehensive as possible.

What this does to your ability to make sense of all the content coming to you is not as relevant/important as the data output this creates for their data business. And when you take all of this into account, both companies have very little interest in making it simple or user friendly to disconnect from a large information web.

Which means the user experience is severely damaged. And quite frankly, they don’t give a damn.

Unfortunate, to say the least.

-Eric Odom


Muckraker. Nu Disco fan. Video Production Geek. Digital Marketing Nerd. Politicians suck. Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks & Bulls!