Facebook recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Can you believe that Facebook has been around for a whole decade? If you have been on Facebook from the very beginning, you have likely accumulated quite a lot of “friends.” At Facebook’s inception, the cool thing to do was add everyone who requested your friendship, whether you’d met them once, twice, or never. Early Facebook adopters are left with many types of Facebook “friends” – including random people from high school, distant relatives, old coworkers, and that guy who said hi in a hallway one time in college. Needless to say, this can make for a massive News Feed full of updates from people you may or may not want to keep in touch with anymore. Thankfully, Facebook offers ways to simplify and filter the News Feed to control which content appears and which stays hidden. Here are four steps you can take toward de-cluttering your Facebook News Feed:
- Unfollow friends whose content you do NOT want to see, while still keeping your Facebook Friend status intact.
You may not have any qualms about deleting “friends” who you’ve never actually met, but what about the people you do know and care about, but can’t help but find their updates/posts to be a little aggravating? Like that friend from college who constantly posts photos of her meals, or your old roommate who updates her status every five minutes with the most inane details? You may love these people dearly, but that doesn’t mean you always find value in the content they post. If only you could “mute” their updates while still maintaining your Facebook friend status. Well, the good news is you CAN, via the ‘Follow/Unfollow’ option. This option allows you to simply exclude a person’s updates from your News Feed. Your friend won’t even know you’ve unfollowed them, which spares their feelings while maintaining your sanity. To use this feature, go to the friend’s profile and click the ‘Follow’ button on the bottom right of the cover photo. You’ll notice that the checkmark in front of the word “Follow” will disappear, meaning you are no longer following this friend and their updates will no longer appear in your News Feed.
- Turn on notifications for the friends whose content you DO want to see.
Of course you have friends whose content you do find to be valuable. Maybe it's your friend at work who always manages to share the funniest YouTube videos, or your uncle who never fails to share a witty joke or sage advice. You’d hate to miss even one of these friends' posts. To make sure you catch all updates from a certain friend, you can choose to be notified every time that person decides to update their status, post a link, or share a photo. From your friend’s profile, select the “Get Notifications” option under the “Friends” dropdown on the bottom right of their cover photo. Once this is selected, Facebook will notify you every time this friend shares content, and you’re guaranteed to never miss a thing.
- Create smaller news feeds within your master News Feed.
Maybe you would benefit from viewing content from work friends in a separate feed from everyone else? Or, maybe you’d find it easier to sort your friends according to how you know them? You might even have a broad range of interests which you would like to divvy up into personalized feeds for easier content discovery. Facebook allows you to create ‘Lists’ for instances just like these, allowing you to separate your master News Feed into smaller, more focused new feeds by organizing the content based on the people or pages who share it.
In the left hand navigation, there is a “Friends” section, under which is a list of different news feeds that Facebook organizes based on your work and school affiliations. If you click on “Friends,” you will be taken to a new page with all of your friend lists. Select “Create New List” at the top of the page. Here you may create a new list name and select friends and pages to add to your new list.
- ’X’ out of the Ads that you don’t like to see. While you can’t get rid of Facebook Ads completely, you can tell Facebook about the kinds of Ads you like or don’t like by using the Ad Feedback feature. Click the “X” in the upper right corner of the add you dislike and a dropdown will appear. Select, “I don’t want to see this” and a notification will appear letting you know the ad has been hidden. A brief survey will appear, which will help Facebook understand why you chose to hide this ad. They will take your feedback into account when ads appear in the future.