What is an algorithm?

An algorithm is a set of instructions for solving a problem or accomplishing a task. For example, it might be as simple as a recipe, with specific instructions for preparing a dish, or really complicated mathematical rules and calculations . All computerised devices use algorithms in order to function. 

Algorithm, Social media, facebook and P-O Life magazine

Websites and magazines like P-O Life use social media regularly,  partly to give out more immediate information such as Brexit or Covid updates which might not still be relevant by the time the next newsletter is published, partly to promote ourselves and encourage readers to use our advertisers, without whom we would quite simply not exist,  and partly as a great opportunity to interact socially,  get to know our readers and, if we’re lucky, make some new friends at the same time.

The Facebook algorithm is made up of four main areas: how recently the post has been published, how popular it is (calculated by likes we suppose but how can you like it if you can’t see it?), content,  and relationship.

Basically, it decides which posts you see and what order you see them when you check your  Facebook feed.

Facebook say that their algorithm is built to try and predict what is “most valuable and meaningful to an individual over the long term,” although how they can possibly know that is a mystery, at least to me!

Certainly, part of that algorithm is to keep people scrolling down and down. The more we scroll, the more Facebook adverts we see! Pas bête Facebook, pas bête.

Algorithm, Social media, facebook and P-O Life magazine

So, the Facebook algorithm evaluates, scores and arranges our posts in order of interest for each of its billions of individual users.  Clever certainly,  but frustrating when we don’t get any say in it.


Here at P-O Life, one of the main uses of Facebook and social media in general, is to bring people together. Yes, we want you to use our advertisers so that we can persuade them to renew their advert – but over the years we have brought so many people together, first via our FORUM,  then via FACEBOOK and many firm friendships have been forged.

You can help us on Facebook by COMMENTING, LIKING and SHARING posts from us and each other. This helps Facebook to decide that we publish interesting or useful information.



  1. Interesting article, thank you!

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