Facebook Unveils New Way To Curate Your Newsfeed

Photo: Courtesy Facebook.
You add people on Facebook for a lot of reasons, though it's not always because you want to see their posts and pictures all the time (sorry, Aunt Miriam). But that doesn't mean you want to go so far as to unfriend them. Facebook's aware of this dilemma, and starting today, it's giving you new, more easily accessible tools to control what's in your feed — without unfollowing people.

Starting with its iOS app, with web and other platforms coming next, you can prioritize what you see in your News Feed. Just tap the More menu in the bottom right corner, then settings, then tap News Feed preferences. There, you'll see four options to prioritize who to see first, unfollow people to hide their posts, reconnect with people you unfollowed, and discover new pages.

For the first option, you can go through the friends and pages you follow and select ones that you always want to see posts from. Once you select them, a blue star appears on their profile page. You'll see posts from these people at the top of your News Feed whenever you log in, followed by the rest of your normal feed below. This is great: Now, you won't have to pore through your feed for ages to find updates from your sister while she's abroad on vacation and you can make sure you don't miss an important link that your S.O. posted.

When you star one of your Facebook friends like this, they have no idea you've done so — it's private. And it's not permanent. You can star and un-star people as much as you like. So if I get tired of my sister's constant vacation photo updates (sorry, sis), I could just as easily un-prioritize her.

Second, it's now easier to unfollow people. Unfollowing is not the same as un-friending someone. It simply hides their updates from your News Feed. So when Aunt Miriam is posting about how she disagrees with SCOTUS' latest major ruling, you don't have to hear it, and you can do it without hurting her feelings. You can unfollow and re-follow people at will, as well.

Lastly, it's now easier to find brands, companies, and publications to follow on Facebook. Rather than remembering to type in "Refinery29" in the search field to find and follow us, for example, in this settings menu, Facebook suggests pages it thinks you'll like based on whatever else you've liked in the past.

Combined, these tools give you an unprecedented level of control over your Facebook experience and can combat some of the mistakes and quirks of Facebook's News Feed algorithms. Which is great, because what it ends up showing us is always a constant mystery.
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