Sorry, folks 'Top Stories' change is a Facebook thing, not Microsoft's

Late last night, the Facebook Beta app for Windows Phone received a significant update. One of the biggest changes is in regards to your default news feed, which now shows 'Top Stories' instead of 'Most Recent'. To be sure, Most Recent is still there, you just need to go to the hamburger button (upper right) and select it. However, this change will not remain when you restart the app, so you have to do it each time.

Undeniably, many of you are not happy with this change, because you would rather not even see Top Stories. So why did Microsoft change the app?

This is a Facebook thing, not Microsoft

First thing you should do is read Facebook's explanation of the differences between Top Stories and Most Recent, including how they determine what is 'Top' and why they are using this layout. You can find that article here.

Second thing we should note is that the Windows Phone Facebook Beta now matches those apps on Android, iOS, the web and even Windows 8.1.

Yes, all of those apps by default already show you Top Stories. In order to see Most Recent, you need to select it, often by going through the menu system. Granted, on the web version, it does stay as Most Recent – even if you log out – as opposed to switching back. Apps on iOS, Android, Windows 8.1 all revert to Top Stories upon closing or exiting the app.

Blame Facebook, not Microsoft

The message here is that the Windows Phone Beta version is merely catching up to those platforms, not setting precedent. Additionally, yes, the non-beta version of the Facebook app will also get these changes unless Facebook themselves change their policy.

None of this is new, either. Facebook announced and rolled out this feature way back when 'Party Rock Anthem' by LMFAO was the biggest hit on the radio (that'd be 2011, folks). The move even back then was controversial, as Facebook later let people set the default news feed on the web, but only after browser plugins flourished to 'hack' around it.

Mobile apps, though, are a different story. Facebook is evidently keen on keeping Top Stories, where they tend to insert paid advertising, as the default view. Instead, the user needs to switch views each time the app launches. This behavior is the same across iOS, Android and yes, now Windows Phone. In other words, all the haranguing in comments last night about how "stupid" Microsoft is really off the mark. This default view is a Facebook-mandated change.

From my experience, 9 times out of 10 when something is lame on Facebook, it is 100% Facebook's fault. Just face it, folks. It is the reason some of us refuse to use the social network monstrosity.

Either way, blaming Microsoft for instituting Facebook changes is going after the wrong culprit. Welcome to the world of Facebook, now get used to it, or grab a nice third-party app.

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

172 Comments
  • I hate most recent .. I rather have top stories
  • +1
  • +2
  • I don't like Facebook determining what I should look at. Especially when they push so many ads on the Top list.
  • Im sorry idk what are you talking about cause I've not seen a single ad till now
  • Not just blatant ads. There is advertising verging on subliminal, where companies can pay for posts from your friends with particular keywords to be more prominent in your feed.
  • Its full of them, they look just like normal posts but have a little sponsored tab up the top. Promoting pages, games etc
  • This is one of the big things that pushed me to get rid of my Facebook account. Half way through the 4 week wait for the account to be deleted and I'm counting down the days until it's gone forever!
  • No it will not be deletedforever..i deactivated mine almost a year when I check back its still right there when you log in.
  • When you go through your profile it won't be deleted, no. But if you go to this page (https://www.facebook.com/help/224562897555674) it's a permanent deletion. I helped a mate delete his account previously. After 30 days you can't log back in; it's gone for good :) Edit: I don't know if it's available to people in the US, though? European data retention/privacy laws are quite different.
  • Yep. I made an account, saw what the cretins I went to school with posted, and shut that bitch down about three days later. Endless dribble just keeps coming from that app.
  • Some of us OCD folks need to have things in chronological order, or we feel like we're missing something. Well, technically we ARE. That, and we are not in control, and I hate that. Let me choose what I want and leave me alone.
  • I'm with ya on that one buddy
  • Didn't you know there a catch for something that is_ free?
  • I'd rather most recent because top stories is always the same damn thing for days and sometimes even weeks. It's annoying to see the same damn thing on my news feed over and over again.
  • In most recent I cant see anything other than the pages updates .. I cant see any updates from my friends ..before this update ..
  • I'm with you. If you know how to customize your top stories feed (see my post below) it's so much better than most recent. I hate checkin FB on my phone because it is most recent.
  • I read your post below. That is not how I would want to use my feed. What's better for YOU is not necessarily better for me.
  • Totally agree. +1520
  • +930 with SD slot
  • Thank you! Even I much prefer Top Stories.
  • Yeah even on other Platform they starter on top stories
  • Built in on people hub :D the solution for us!
  • The People Hub uses Most Recent but is still full of people liking things of other people I don't even know. It's just as messy. I hope they can at least clean this up.
  • I thought you could change the people hub to only show people with outlook contact details? That's what I used to do before I deleted my FB.
  • Or people wishing other people happy birthday. That's why I hate most recent.
  • Facebook app is now the same poor app on any platform :(
  • don't forget, it's the same but worse because it's on Windows Phone /sarcasm
  • Of course it's a Facebook's doing, not MS's. Who could ever think otherwise? I've always hated the top stories. In the web version it doesn't stay forever, it's only for a few days and then it reverts back.
  • "Who could ever think otherwise?"
    Grab a coffee and go read last night's comments. I'd say, nearly half the people think this is Microsoft's fault.
  • Exactly
  • I would rather like to see stories of friends other than the pages I liked .... So for me this was the most awaited feature of this app ..
  • I'm with daneshd1 on this.
  • Microsoft's name is on the app so it must be partly their fault. You're saying that Microsoft has no ability to do anything with the app except take orders from Facebook? I could see that happening in Facebook was paying for all the development costs but then it should have Facebook name on it. Surely Microsoft could add set as default option.
  • "You're saying that Microsoft has no ability to do anything with the app except take orders from Facebook?"
    Do me a favor: go look at the iOS app and the app on Android. Now fire up the Windows Phone app. Notice how similar they are? Microsoft is building the app for FB. Microsoft is taking on the quality control and building the app business, but it is 100% Facebook's app, not Microsoft's. I am not sure why this is so hard to fathom.
  • Because people are idiots.
  • I saw the screen shots. You made the point that they are duplicating the feature as it is on Io and Android. I also notice lots of other differences between them which means this doesn't have to be copied either or at least they could make it better and have a set as default. You just made my point... MSFT is taking on quality control and this is not liked well so MSFT could change it.
  • I dunno. That arrangement seems kind of hard to fathom to me. Not that I was blaming MS. but it seems like if you're essentially a 3rd party developer, you can choose to emphasize whatever you'd like. So this seems more like MS trying not to piss off FB than MS being required to abode by FB decrees.
  • That makes more sense. Probably just trying to make it consistent with the other platforms. Same reason why they got rid of the wp8 metro design. They could probably add a set as default for most recent but it may piss off FB.
  • Nope. Microsoft have no control over what new features are included or removed from the app. That's all on Facebook. As people have said, Microsoft is just the store publisher and therefore have very little else to do with it. :)
  • Lol, false.
  • Dude... everything is Microfts fault. Everything!
  • Who gives a shit who's fault it is? Facebook is getting worse all the time. The most recent tab is a wreck now. Guess ill have to go back to using m.Facebook.com smh.
  • It's actually very important. If this was just a Microsoft decision, they could presumably change it like OneDrive. If, however, it was Facebook's, then it out of Microsoft's hands and it is likely not to be fixed. Fact is, many were unaware that the Beta is exactly how it works on iOS and Android, so this article is educational (as much as an editorial).
  • Didn't mean to come off rude, just find the whole discussion pointless although you make a decent point.
  • God bless you Danny boy for not behaving like an ass. I know its hard, god knows how many of my comments get deleted. I'm happy you are putting a good foot forward. I need to emulate that.
  • I and others thought otherwise because the app is MS developed and published. Malatesta set the record straight.
  • Most recent shows a lot of posts of people I don't even know that my friends liked because the posts are public. Top stories show the same things each time I open Facebook. Not happy either way.
  • Yeah both seem buggy especially the top stories. It's showing stuff more than a week old and the same post was first all day today.
  • Whiners gonna whine. (c)
  • I really like to drink wine XD
  • Morons are gonna be moronic...
  • Whiskeys gonna whisk.
  • Whipper gonna whip.
  • Rappers gonna rap
    Sippers gonna sip
    Suckers gonna..sulk :P :P
  • Well, they're not exactly going to hold hands and sing 'heal the world' now, are they? :)
  • They tried that already.
  • Well then
  • Yea..Well..Wha..What did you say..??
  • After a long time I guess Microsoft isn't to be blamed for a screw up...otherwise they are always an easy bait...just throw all the blame at them !!!
  • Sure, if you're a clueless dumb fuck.
  • Lol
  • Now m gonna left using Facebook
  • At least we don't see ads. Thanks Microsoft.
  • Only for now.. It's only a matter of time... tik... tak... :D :D
  • Don't jinx it
  • Guess I'll be one of the many that no longer uses Facebook.
  • If you do what my post below says, you'll change your mind like I did. Imagine being able to more or less hide your friends who spam your feed with political garbage, our post fifty times a day about crap you couldn't care less about? Top stories if tweaked is awesome.
  • Is we do all that..We are gonna have a blank and an empty News Feed..!! Bitter but true..!! :P :P :P :P
  • So what about my friends who don't spam me with crap, but liked something from another friend of theirs with low security settings that was posted a week ago, but just showed up in their top news? Should I hide all posts by that friend so I don't see their friends posts in my top news? Facebook has straight out been ruined by Top News.
  • Why do I now see posts that my friends liked on official Facebook app? It doesn't show me posts of my friends anymore. News feed is filled with friend liked this and friend liked that... Anyone else have this problem?
  • With you. Wading through loads of rubbish. Probably stop using the app untill they sort it out
  • Me too. Is this how the other apps on other platforms function?
  • Yes it is :)
  • As short of features as the Windows Phone version of FB was, it was cleaner and, for me, better at presenting what I wanted to see in comparison to the version on iPhone and Android. But we want to be equal so we must also suffer what equal gets. Smh...
  • Yes, and I've reported the app for privacy concerns due to this terrible change in news feed content.
  • I cant see this option??
  • That would be because it isn't an option anymore. You don't have a choice in the matter. We're apparently too stupid to make our own decisions.
  • Poor Microsoft, but they should come up with some intelligent implementation of toggle button available at the news feed page, like a floating button or something like that.
  • But Facebook doesn't want them to do that, and they are building this app for Facebook.
  • I like the top stories feed instead of the most recent.
  • Good for you. Wouldn't it be nice to simply have the choice?
  • Yeah it is f*cking annoying. It was the first thing to piss me off in an app on Android, actually and the reason why I still picked up a WP when I wanted to go to Facebook.   Now we can all collectively hate yet another stupid idea by Facebook. No wonder less and less people are using it.
    I currently seldom open it anymore.
  • Then at least put the menu in the recent news feed. Or is it FB's stupid decision as well?!
  • The whole layout and menu system is based on what FB wants. Their idea is if you pick up the iOS app, it'll feel the same as on Android or Windows Phone. Microsoft's hands are a bit tied here. Although they build the app for FB, they do not dictate its design.
  • Also Facebook's decision. On Android it's burried in the hamburger menu too.
  • Now, Non-beta Facebook is really broken.
    It shows everything that my friends like and share, even status of people that I'm not their friends.
  • What better way for you to see ads than to see "top stories".
  • My Top stories are from 3 weeks ago..
  • I've been unhappy with the whole top stories thing since it started. It was only a matter of time before it hit the WP app.
  • My usage of Facebook has dwindled to probably a tenth of what it used to be up to about a year ago; stupidity like this is mainly to blame. The separate messaging app of yestermonth really was the nail in the coffin, and this just serves to further validate my priorities...
  • Terrible idea. Completely unintuitive. The excuse in regards to advertising is silly. Ads can be placed anywhere regardless of the method you choose to read your wall.
  • This sucks.
    Is there a good third party FB app?
  • "Its The Reason Some of Us Refuse To Use The Social Network Monstrosity" sooooo true.
  • Most recent doesn't stay that way on the web/browser either, but when it changes seems to be random. Sometimes I have to fix it every visit, other times it will stay the way I want it to for days. Why I use fb less and less, even to keep up with extended family. Keep screwing up my feed and I'm there less and less.
  • Last time i checked this is a 3rd party app developed by Microsoft, why is Microsoft going above and beyond to cripple social media on Windows Phone? The most personal phone my arse. At least Ballmer took risks, Nadella looks like he's bent on copycat rather than being a trend setter.
  • "Last time i checked this is a 3rd party app developed by Microsoft"
    Hm, I'd check harder because your first assumption there is incorrect. Here is a fact for you: most companies do not "make" their own app. They hire contract companies to make them. This is the case here with Facebook/Microsoft and it happens on iOS and Android. So no, this is not a 3rd party app. Facebook is letting Microsoft build the app for them, but the approval process and design is all on Facebook.
  • Speaking of bad platform design, did you guys purposely gimp the comments for the site when you changed to Windows Central to force users into the app? Every time I type in the comments on my Windows Phone it takes me back to the top of the page, I can't click the edit button, and I can't click reply. I had to go get my laptop to comment properly.
  • I hate you, Facebook
  • Top stories = force fed propaganda and ads. Who are they to determine what every user views as a top story? Just like news sites posting what's supposedly trending.
  • Actually you can determine a lot of what you see. See my post below.
  • I'm not blaming anyone
    In fact I really like that change and I love top stories
    And also most recent shows some stupid pages and it's not working correctly
  • "The social network monstrosity." I 100% agree with that statement.
  • I WELCOME THE CHANGE.
  • Sure, there was doubt FB wants this option to be used, but good to know that the other platforms don't have some menu to change it and WP falling behind again. It's crap though...
  • Yes that is a facebook thing. My friends that using Android phone just told my that there are some changes on their Facebook apps.
  • It's ok if switching via the menu would bring up the most recent news, but it just brings up pages' updates, friends' likes and shares and the things that interest people (such as posts by my friends and not just likes and shares) are immersed within a sea of things I don't care about.
  • I bitched about that also. But sadly this is also Facebook's doing. Even the official app is slowly starting to get cluttered with that crap.
  • See my post below. Top stories can blow most recent out of the water worth a little tweaking.
  • Daniel, you stated that the Windows 8.1 app is similar, but the app on my Surface Rt shows me 'most recent' everytime.
  • Same with the Win8 metro app on my PC. Which means it's only a matter of time before Facebook fucks that up too.
  • This is actually great news. The key to top stories is to put everyone you want to see updates from as a close friend (it's like faving a feed) and everyone else as an acquaintance (essentially telling Facebook you don't care about that feed). Facebook wants you to want to check your feed more so they tailor your top stories to give you the most relevant posts, and obviously you care to see more stuff from "close friends" than mere "acquaintances." If you do this your top stories dominates. I don't look at my feed nearly as much on my phone since it just has most recent.
  • My mother only has family and a few close friends on her feed (say about 40-50 people tops) and still didn't see everything I posted even though she likes and comments on everything of mine (and from my siblings) she sees. Top stories is great if you're one of these people that have thousands of friends, but when you have only a couple hundred it's quite flawed.
  • My friend likes a post from another one of their friends that is a month old and totally irrelevant to me, but just showed up in the top of their top news. Now because their friend has no security settings, it pops up in my top news. This friend of mine isn't spamming me, this friend isn't being annoying, but Top News is forcing this totally irrelevant information on me in regards to someone I don't even know.   You're saying I should hide all posts from my friend, who's status updates and pictures are of interest to me? Because they liked something from a friend I don't know?   Top News is god awful. On the plus side it is curing my facebook addiction, and making me check facebook less often. I'm pretty much at the point of uninstalling facebook from my phone, and thankfully they've even made this easy by making a seperate messenger app!
  • why the heck are you friends or like page if you don't want to see the stiff? unfriend them... i want stuff in order of posting and i want to see everything from everyone. not by some system facebook made up that they think i want to see which they don't also hate how it is hard for friends to see stuff because of some system that hinds stuff you post too. why can friends not see stuff? aso i have 42 friends mostly family. there is no reason i shouldn't see everything and they shouldn't see everything i post now
  • People will always look for crap to complain about. Just f*ck it, seriously!
  • Time for Microsoft to make their own social networking site. Come on Bingbook.com, we're waiting. LOL.
  • They've had that for a while. But it's more like pinterest if anything. http://www.so.cl/
  • not to mention what used to be Windows Live Spaces. I miss Windows Live...
  • After​ all these years and all those people including me crying about Facebook news feed displaying only news from web pages finally everything is working ... But,guess....,still there is people that want the old news feed back!! None will ever be satisfied on this platform..... Switch to ios or android,guys.... ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​
  • Uh... first, this has nothing to do with iOS or Android, it has to do with Facebook. Second, have you ever been on an iOS or Android forum? The whining and complaining here pales in comparison by at least ten-fold. And there are tens of millions of them.
  • Simple: just use 'People' app ting on Lumia. Facebook feed always shows most recent and always will. Only problem is its limited to viewing updates (need to tap to open facebook to comment) but I still prefer the design of People (black/white large fonts) compared to the tiny Facebook app fonts.
  • Hey Daniel, chill man today is Saturday, enjoy your holiday, see you on monday:P
  • ​We wanted an FB app that works the same as in Android and iOS. And now, we got it so everybody must be jumping for joy! Right?
  • I actually like that we have "top stories" now. Something we've never actually had on WP that actually works correctly. This is a step in the right direction.
  • Confusing since this app is made by MS while on other platforms Facebook makes those apps. Well, or it appears like that. So on other platforms you would expect these things. I'm a little surprised. Well, not really... LoL
  • Yay.. One more reason for not using the Facebook app and to use the browser instead. The old way. Not able to read and write fb messages was first reason. I'm not a heavy user. And for some strange reason, now my FB app is not showing the like button!!
  • I like the change
  • I hate, hate, hate top stories.  I am always annoyed that I can't set it the way that I want.  Top stories usually gives me stuff from several hours ago to a day ago. If someone likes top stories, that's fine with me.  The user should get that choice.
  • Bring back HUBS integration!!!!
  • I think its time for facebook to die.... Of course I only use it once in awhile... But I friggin hate getting invites to play stupid facebook games.... I ignore all adds... Fb is not making any money from me... LinkedIn is starting to get stupid as well....