An illustration of Facebook's logo, on May 9, 2016. Health experts and children's advocates are urging Facebook to discontinue Messenger Kids, its new messaging app. 

An illustration of Facebook's logo, on May 9, 2016. Health experts and children's advocates are urging Facebook to discontinue Messenger Kids, its new messaging app. 

Jaap Arriens/TNS

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and social media algorithm changes. Sometimes, though, the changes you hear about aren't actually real.

It's true that Facebook kicked off 2018 by making big changes to the News Feed with the stated purpose of showing users more content from friends and family and less content from brands and publishers. You now have to jump through some extra hoops if you want to make sure you do see content from preferred publishers (like your friends at GuideLive, for example). Anecdotally, you might also see the same posts by the same friends over and over again, because algorithms are tricky and imperfect.

What you definitely won't see, however, is a News Feed that's limited to only 25 or 26 friends.

That's been the hoax going around Facebook since the end of 2017, though it's been picking up steam this week. The rumor says that Facebook is choosing which friends you get to see on your News Feed, and that it's limited to only a couple dozen people. How can you stop that and see all the baby pictures and relationship drama from each and every one of your friends? Just copy and paste something as your status, and then ask your friends to comment on it.

The viral statuses look something like this:

"The new algorithm controlling Facebook's news feed now shows only posts from the same few people, about 25. Their system chooses the people to read your posts, but I would like to choose for myself. Therefore, I ask you a favor: please, right now...Leave me a quick comment, a 'hello,' a sticker, whatever you want - don't just 'like' - post something - so you will appear in my news feed. I have some interesting news coming and want to make sure it reaches you."

It's not true. Facebook has issued a statement saying "Friends don't let friends copy and paste memes, and this one simply is not true. We rank News Feed based on how relevant each post might be to you, and while we've made some updates that could increase the number of posts you see from your friends, your News Feed isn't limited to 25 of them."

Snopes has also weighed in, definitively calling this rumor false. (They also point out that some versions of the hoax actually claimed to have been verified by Snopes, which is clearly untrue.)

You also can't win a chunk of Mark Zuckerberg's money, and Samuel L. Jackson isn't moving to North Texas, and Whataburger isn't shutting down all of its stores this year.

So yes, if you're popular enough to have more than 25 friends, rest assured that you can still see all of their cat photos on Facebook. All you have to do is share this post on your feed so that Tom from MySpace doesn't suspend your Twitter account permanently.

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