Facebook makes it easier to keep junk out of your News Feed

Facebook made an update on Friday that allows users to more easily adjust how often their News Feed shows updates from certain people or places. The Facebook update also makes it easy to see who or what is appearing in your News Feed most often.

Paul Sakuma/AP/File
A new Facebook update makes it easier to control what items appear in your News Feed. Here, flowers frame the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, CA.

Another day, another Facebook update. But this one is actually pretty helpful: The company has rolled out some changes that make it easier to control what shows up in your News Feed, the stream of updates that appear when you first visit the site. You can now see what pages or people are appearing most often in your News Feed, and unsubscribe from updates from those you don’t want to see.

If you’ve ever been baffled by how Facebook decides what updates to show you in your News Feed, you’re not alone. Maybe you always see statuses posted by people you haven’t interacted with in years, but important updates from close friends slip by without ever appearing in the feed. With this new update, Facebook aims to give users a little more control over what they see, by culling some of the fluff from their feeds.

Before, users could hide stories or updates they weren’t interested in seeing in their News Feed by clicking an arrow to hide that story. That hiding function remains the same, only now when you hide something Facebook will also ask if you want to see fewer updates from that person or Page. If you say “yes,” it’ll continue by asking if you want to remove that person or Page from your News Feed entirely. It’s a straightforward way to clean junk out from your feed -- you can hide people or Pages right from the main page, without having to go to each source individually to unsubscribe.

Adam Mosseri, the head of the News Feed team, told the New York Times in an interview: “If we’re showing you something you’re not interested in, we’re not doing our job the way we should be doing it.” This update should certainly help by giving users the power to tailor their News Feeds so they’re genuinely interesting.

Facebook also updated the News Feed’s settings so you can see, at a glance, which people, Pages, and Groups have appeared most often in your Feed the past week. If a source you’re not interested in anymore appears on the list, you can unsubscribe from further updates right from the page. Presumably to balance things out, Facebook also shows you the people and Pages you’ve unsubscribed from in the past, so you can re-add them in case your feelings have changed (or, alternatively, if you start feeling guilty about the number of people you’ve unfollowed).

These changes aren’t in effect everywhere yet -- they’re live for some mobile apps, but not for the desktop version of Facebook. The company says the update will be reflected everywhere within a few weeks.

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