Facebook News Feed: 4 Ways To Cut Clutter - InformationWeek

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11/10/2014
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Facebook News Feed: 4 Ways To Cut Clutter

Facebook now gives you more -- but not absolute -- control over the content in your news feed. Use our tips to ditch the noise.

Facebook: 10 New Changes That Matter
Facebook: 10 New Changes That Matter
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Facebook's news feed algorithm -- the secret sauce that determines what content you do and don't see -- is a constant work in progress.

Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out a handful of changes to serve you less spam and show you fewer ads, more videos, and less auto-shared content from apps like Spotify and Pinterest. Most recently, the social network changed its algorithm to prioritize posts based on whether a topic is trending and when -- instead of how many -- people like, share, or comment on it.

But despite its latest efforts to make it more effective, Facebook's news feed is still a pain point for many users who simply want to manage it themselves. Last week, the social network launched a new tool that gives you more -- but not absolute -- control over the content in your news feed.

"News feed is where you to go catch up on what's happening with your friends and find the content that matters to you," Greg Marra, Facebook product manager, said in a blog post. "What you do in news feed helps determine who you want to connect to, and what pages and public figures you want to follow. Starting today, there will be more ways for you to control and give feedback on your news feed."

Here's a look at the newest feature to help you control what you see -- plus three more tips to cut through your news feed clutter.

[Catch up on the latest Facebook changes. Read Facebook: 10 New Changes That Matter.]

1. New mobile and desktop settings
Facebook's new tool for both desktop and mobile users gives you more control over the posts from people, pages, and groups that appear in your news feed. The new settings, which launched Friday, let you quickly unfollow any friends, pages, or groups, and they will show you which pages you interact with the most and which ones you've already unfollowed.

To hide a story that appears in your news feed, tap or click the arrow in the top right. This option isn't new, but if you choose it, Facebook will ask you if you'd like to see less from that person, group, or page. If you do, Facebook will give you the option to unfollow that person, group, or page. You can always re-follow a person, group, or page's posts by visiting your news feed settings -- the other new feature Facebook launched.

To access your news feed settings page from desktop, click the gear icon that appears next to the news feed option on the left-side menu. On mobile, tap the More option and scroll to Manage News Feed.

This new section will show you a list of the top people, pages, and groups that you've seen in your news feed over the past week. You can sort these details by people, pages, or groups -- or you can see an overall summary, the company said in a blog post. The summary option wasn't yet available to me in the iOS app; Facebook said it will gradually roll out to all users.

You can search for people, pages, and groups and unfollow or re-follow them by tapping a button. Unfollowing is not the same as unfriending someone, unliking a page, or leaving a group -- all it does is remove the content from your news feed.

2. Sort by "Most Recent Posts"
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company is

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
11/10/2014 | 1:56:25 PM
How do I get to the "lists main page"
Not sure whether this isn't active for my account or I'm just not finding it, but I can't seem to find my way to that "manage lists" button you mentioned. I have a bunch of lists and try to categorize new contacts as I go, but I've never found a good way of editing / pruning those lists.

Would be great if FB would give us a really powerful / flexible tool for managing lists.

Google+ had a nice concept with the Circles editor, although as circles grew it became harder to work with. And then there's the fact that most people only go to G+ when they're trying to post something that will get the search engine's attention. I was enthused or a while but now have to force myself to go back periodically.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/11/2014 | 9:23:07 AM
Re: How do I get to the "lists main page"
@Dave -- It's possible you have an updated (or outdated) version of this feature, but try this: Go to your Lists page by clicking More next to the Friends subhead from the menu on the left. This should load your list of Lists. Click one of them, which (should) load a feed of posts from those people on that list. At the top-right of the feed you might see the Manage List button, from which you can access the edit options. Hopefully that will work.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
11/11/2014 | 11:55:49 AM
FB: What I want
Zuckerberg wants FB to be the perfect, personalized newspaper -- but that is not what I want from FB. I have plenty of other ways to get my world news. What I want is a more private, easy way to stay in touch with a group of people. I wonder what would happen if FB killed the ad model and told us all we had to pay $5 a month.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
11/11/2014 | 1:42:22 PM
Re: FB: What I want
Facebook evolves in different ways for different people. But personally, I use it mostly as a news service. The news feed combined with the Saved function allows me to pick and choose what stories I want to read (now or later). It's a good system. I still socialize on FB but that's not the priority anymore. A lot of that has moved to Instagram.  
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2014 | 6:07:57 PM
Re: FB: What I want
Shane makes a good point -- it's evolved for me as well. I'm sharing less these days and saving more stories to read later. 
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