The Facebook News Feed is a bone of contention for many over the years. I won’t be the first to bemoan the fact that I have very little control over what I see in Facebook’s “News” Feed. Until perhaps now…
Facebook recently announced that they’re listening and have given users more control of what they see in their News Feed. It’s about time!
Now you have the option to indicate to Facebook those friends, Pages and groups you wish to appear first. The video below shows you how to better control what you see in your News Feed on a desk/laptop.
- Select Friends And Pages To See First In Your Facebook News Feed
- How Does Facebook Decide What You See?
- 6 More Ways To Control What You See In Your Facebook News Feed
- 1. Lists
- How to create a custom friend List on Facebook
- How to create an Interests List on Facebook
- How to view your Lists News Feed
- 2. Most Recent
- 3. Unfollow people
- How to unfollow friends, Pages and groups
- 4. Hide all option
- 5. I don’t want to see this
- 6. Actually interact with your News Feed
- 7 Ways To Control Your Facebook News Feed
- Related Posts
Select Friends And Pages To See First In Your Facebook News Feed
Video first appeared on Facebook here
On a mobile device, scroll down and look for the “More options” link.
Image source Facebook.
How Does Facebook Decide What You See?
It still amazes me that many people are not aware of the extent Facebook filters what you see in your News Feed. They have to, could you imagine seeing everything your friends and liked Pages posted? The News Feed would whiz past faster than Twitter’s and you’d never actually see much of anything at all.
Facebook use a secret mathematical formula to decide what you see in your News Feed. It’s constantly tweaked (I hesitate to use the word improved…) This year alone we’ve seen update announcements about:
- more updates from friends rather than Pages,
- less “Friend X liked” updates,
- less “promotional” posts from Pages
The algorithm also “learns” to varying degrees what you prefer to see by your actions on the Feed:
A recent addition is time spent on a specific update without doing any of the above actions. If you stop on an update flying through your Feed, that information will be fed to the algorithm too.
Not only will the algorithm attempt to show you more of what you tend to interact with, but it feeds this info into the ads selection too. You see more ads based on your interactions and interests.
It’s not quite as simple as all that – I can hear you yelling at the screen, that doesn’t work for me!
6 More Ways To Control What You See In Your Facebook News Feed
Obviously, you don’t want to add practically every friend and Page to your “see first” preference. It would defeat the object! How else can you control what you see in your News Feed?
Facebook automatically creates a few lists for you. These include:
- close friends,
- area (if friends add that info),
- schools (if friends add that info),
- people who work with you (if friends add their workplace)
You can also create custom lists and filter your News Feed to see only updates from particular lists. Facebook prioritise updates from family and close friends. It makes sense when you add friends or like Pages to add them to a list.
Lists allow you to post updates for specific groups of people, not just public, friends or friends of friends.
You really don’t need more than 1 Facebook account. Yes I am looking at you who has one for this business, one for that business, one for this selling site, one for that, one for real friends, one for family, one for friends who I don’t want them to know I really don’t like them and I’m stalking them…
Not only is more than 1 Facebook account against their TOS, you really do run the risk of your profile(s) being closed or changed to a Page therefore losing control. But you’re not actually “teaching” the algorithm in a consistent manner.
How to create a custom friend List on Facebook
A custom friends list will also allow you to post updates to specific groups of people.
- Scroll down and hover over friends in the left side menu and click more
- Click the Create List button
- In the pop-up, give your list a name and add members. NOTE you can only add friends at this point, not Pages
- Click the Create button
- On the new list page, click Manage List and select Edit List to add more friends and Pages if you wish
How to create an Interests List on Facebook
Interests lists are an ideal way of sorting all those pages and people you like into groups. You can filter updates by list and actually see updates from Pages you Like.
- Scroll down and hover over Interests in the left side menu, click more
- Click Add Interests
- Now you can choose to follow other people’s public Lists from the suggestions or you can create your own List
- Click Create List
- Select the people and Pages you want to appear in your list and click next
- Give your list a name, select who can see the list and click done
How to view your Lists News Feed
- Scroll down and hover over Interests in the side menu, click more
- Select the list you want to see updates from
Now when you add a new friend or Like a new Page you can add them to an appropriate list and be able to see updates when you view your List News Feed. Hover over the Liked or Friends button and choose a list from the drop-down menu.
2. Most Recent
Facebook shows you “Top Stories” by default in your News Feed. A simple way to control what you see is to switch to “Most Recent”. The Most recent News Feed shows you updates in chronological order.
You still don’t get to see every update friends and Pages make – that would be too overwhelming!
In the left menu, click the drop-down arrow next to News Feed. Select Most Recent.
3. Unfollow people
Facebook filters your News Feed so much mainly because there are simply too many updates to show you everything. This is particularly true if you have a lot of friends and/or Like a lot of Pages.
One way to see more from people and pages you actually want to hear from is to unfollow people and pages you aren’t particularly interested in. You aren’t actually unliking or unfriending anyone, just choosing not to see updates.
Unfollowing is ideal if you have that 3rd cousin twice removed who insists on posting everything the kids do or you’ve liked your aunt’s new Facebook Page to show support, but you’re not interested in her business. It’s an easy way to cut down on updates without causing family feuds and mass fall-outs.
If you have “friends” you really don’t want to see updates from or like Pages you don’t care about – do both of you a favour and unfriend/unlike. Facebook isn’t a numbers game.
How to unfollow friends, Pages and groups
a. See the video above to unfollow several people/Pages at once, choose the unfollow option rather than “see first”.
b. To unfollow individual Pages and people from an update, click the drop-down arrow and select Unfollow.
4. Hide all option
The Hide All option is great when you have that friend (you know the one…) who constantly shares articles from MostAnnoyingSiteEver.com You made the mistake of clicking once 3 years ago and now every share from the site turns up in your News Feed…
You can stop seeing shares from particular sites, pages and apps rather than unfollowing your friends totally.
Hover over the update, click the drop-down arrow and select Hide All From
5. I don’t want to see this
This option now seems to be reserved for ads and apps. Sorry, you won’t stop seeing ads but you may start seeing more relevant ads! I’ve also tried it on those annoying time-hop posts. Facebook is like a stroppy Teen, it has selective hearing – the damn things still keep turning up in my feed after a week’s absence…
Hover over the update, click the drop-down menu and select I don’t want to see this (if it’s available)
The update will disappear and you can click the message to let Facebook know why you don’t want to see the update.
6. Actually interact with your News Feed
By interact, I mean do more than like a few updates because you feel you need to (guilty!) The Facebook algorithm does (sort of) learn from your actions, but it’s a formula. A bit of maths doesn’t understand human nuances. A like can mean so many things:
- I’ve seen this,
- I agree,
- I enjoyed it,
- I appreciate it,
- I like it,
- I like you,
- I’m liking so you know I am watching (creepy)
A like is quick and easy. The problem is if all you do is Like then the Facebook algo starts miss-interpreting your likes.
I noticed this on a personal level. I’m not the most social of people, I don’t keep my Facebook profile updated with everything I am up to, neither do I comment much on Facebook. I DO tend to Like things flying through my feed when I think on.
During the run up to the General Election I “liked” a few political based posts. Facebook then took it upon itself to show me more political based posts – most of which were Kippers or Conservative. I’m not the most political of people either, but those who pay attention would notice I tend to lean left of centre. I have no interest in and definitely do not like UKIP or the Conservative Party.
On a larger scale Mat Honan did a bit of an experiment. He liked everything (yes EVERYTHING) he saw fly through his Facebook Feed for 48 hours. What happened? You can read his findings over on Wired. In a nutshell, his News Feed was intensely polarised – far-left and far-right interspersed with gossip column crap with very little coming through from his friends. His friends thought he’d gone nuts, or at least been hacked.
At the other end of the spectrum, Elan Morgan stopped liking all together and started commenting instead. While she can’t scientifically say her News Feed is better, she feels it is – more conversation and connection with less crap. I think we all need a bit of that!
7 Ways To Control Your Facebook News Feed
There you have it, 7 ways to control what you see in your Facebook News Feed. To recap:
1. Use the see first option for your favourite people and Pages
2. Cultivate lists of people and Pages you can switch your Feed to
3. Unfollow people, Pages and groups you cant bear to unfriend, unlike or leave.
4. Try using the Most Recent option to see a different view of your News Feed
5. Hide All from sites that just drive you nuts
6. Use the “I don’t want to see this” option on apps and ads
7. Actually interact with your News Feed rather than mindless liking – does it make a difference for you?
Over to you…
How many of these techniques do you use to control your Facebook News Feed? What works for you? What doesn’t? I’d love to know in the comments!Facebook News Feed: 7 Ways To Control What You See by Jan Kearney