This essay originally was published on May 26, 2022, with the email subject line CT No. 123: Creating a better diet for the beast.

In January 2018 Facebook changed its algorithm to feature fewer branded posts in favor of more "meaningful" user-generated content. Many of my first-generation social content manager colleagues experienced a situation SEO folks knew well: dramatic performance drops in the face of an unannounced algorithm change.

We suspected then (and know now) that Facebook's prime directive was to keep people engaged on Facebook. Facebook didn't want users to leave the platform; it didn't want brands to reach customers without paying Facebook for the privilege; and it wanted to prove to its audience that the newsfeed wasn't becoming a living advertisement.*

One of my colleagues was stressing: the consumer brand whose Facebook channel she managed was seeing significant declines in reach and traffic. The brand's solution was to post seven times a day on Facebook to make up those numbers. Her entire professional life for the next few months was consumed by the tedious work of compiling seven original posts per day.

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