Facebook Timeline Highlights: A Clarification

A while back, I wrote about missing posts — notably, missing posts by others — as one of the 5 Things I Hate About Facebook Timeline For Pages. I had assumed that this was a bug.

After closer examination, I’ve come to the realization that this is instead by design. That doesn’t make this better. In fact, it just makes it a bigger design problem that Facebook needs to address.

The Problem With Missing Posts

I noticed this when a reader had pointed out that none of the posts by others were appearing in her page’s Timeline. When I took a look at my own, I noticed that some — but not all — posts by others were appearing. So it wasn’t a matter of Timeline displaying only my posts. Instead, I had to go back an entire month or so until I saw a post written by someone other than me.

It was pretty easy to assume this was a bug. By going to Admin Panel > Manage > Use Activity Log and filtering Posts by Others, I see all of the posts made by people other than me. And in each case, there is an open circle icon next to those posts, indicating that the piece of content is “Allowed” on the Timeline.

Allowed on Page

So where is that content? Well, that’s where Facebook Timeline Highlights come into play…

Highlights, But Not THOSE Highlights

Now things get confusing. When I speak of Highlights, I’m not referring to the star icon on a post that allows you to stretch a post across two columns. No, I’m referring to either of the two Highlights filter drop-downs at the top.

Facebook Timeline for Pages Highlights

You have four options: View posts by the page, posts by others, posts by friends or Highlights. There is no in between.

The Problem With Highlights

Highlights in this context are the most important posts by both the page and others, as determined by Facebook. I’m okay with Facebook using their algorithm to determine that. The problem is, though, that Facebook doesn’t allow you to override their decision that something isn’t important.

Sure, you can hide an item from the Timeline that is already there. But if Facebook determines that a post isn’t important — and not a Highlight — you can’t change that.

The Solution

Alright, Facebook, listen up. Here’s how you fix this bad design flaw.

On the Activity Log, you can currently determine whether a post is allowed or not allowed on the Timeline. That’s great. But it doesn’t impact Highlights.

So, let’s add another icon. Allowed and not allowed can apply to the four filters other than Highlight. Then add another icon next to it that will either be filled or empty indicating whether it is Highlighted (or change the name so we aren’t so easily confused).

Proposed Facebook Timeline For Pages Highlight Icon

Easy? Easy. Now fix it!

  • Sara Wallén

    Oh Good God please, I don’t mind changes in design, but for goodness sake we need a “show absolutely everything in chronological order” option.

  • http://www.martynstead.co.uk/ Martyn Stead

    I wouldn’t worry too much, in the past few days Facebook has been randomly going back in time, wiping all posts out for several hours, then randomly reinstating a few, then losing them again, then…    

    So even though your suggestion is a good one, it will make absolutely no difference if Facebook keeps losing posts anyway.This is NOT a business-ready environment.I bet Google are enjoying this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/surplusrobyn Robyn GovLiquidation

    Great solution, Jon. Fix it, Facebook!

  • Lizzy7

    I have a fan page for the students in my school.  EVERY SINGLE item I post IS IMPORTANT.  However, the idiots at Facebook don’t give me the option to permanently change from “Highlights” to “Posts by Page”.  So, the students are missing important information that I have taken the time to post for them.  To Zuckerberg and his cronies:  A college degree AND a ton of money does not make one smart!

  • Dchin203

    With Jon, Lizzy and all you guys here!

    WE ALL NEED the “show absolutely everything in chronological order”-button.

    Guess, the FB-team are all on their IPO roadshow………A company valued close to 100billion US dollars, unable to install such a MUST-needed button ??? !!!!

    Hello Facebook? Hello, Zuckerberger…..Sheryl?
    Anybody home…….? NO, not buying any Facebook-Shares, until FB fixes this !!!!!


  • Mr. Durian

     Facebook is editing content on your Timeline.

    Content that is deemed important by Facebook will remain on your Timeline. Otherwise Facebook will delete content from your Timeline after a few days or weeks.

    Content that Facebook deleted from your Timeline can be viewed in the Activity Log, so it’s still there, just not viewable by others.

    This is Facebook policy, not a bug:



  • sledr

    I found the same thing, which REALLY MADE ME MAD. So I went to the activity log and highlighted the item, which made it bigger than I wanted. HOWEVER, IT FORCED IT ON THE TIMELINE! Then I “unhighlighted” it, so that it would be “the normal size” and it has stayed on my timeline ever since. As someone says, it will probably go away in a month or so, we’ll see. But it was nice to see, that there is a way to force something on to your timeline!

    • http://twitter.com/nicolaslavin Nicola

      I have the same problem, highlighting it seems to work but then when I make it just allowed it disappears again. I also have a problem where if I tag another page in my posts, it doesn’t show up in that page’s ‘Recent Posts by Others’ either.

  • wolfy

    Interesting one this, I have the same problem, 3 posts I made today were not being displayed in highlights, so I tried as sledr stated below, manually highlighting and then un-highlighting just one of them, and boom they ALL showed up. It’s crappy that this is still un-addressed by farcebook but seems to be a workaround. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/spiritresource Spirit Resource Ltd

    Facebook is so damn buggy. Disappearing posts, reappearing. I’m not surprised the investors caused problems – when you can’t get the basics right such as data presentation what are you going to do in the long term. I had to change a date of our last picture added for a business page just to get our posts to reappear again. Ridiculous. The sooner someone makes a better, faster, more streamlined version of facebook the better.

  • O Holm

    so annoying. Facebook has been automatically removing MY highlights on my page and it’s been messing up my layout. VERY annoying.

  • parna

    not finding the highlight button itself !! i m fedup with facebook m deactivating my ac soon