Pouting selfies, second hand baby clothes and game requests swamping your Facebook news feed? It’s time to follow our 8 steps to a better Facebook news feed.
1. Hide this in the news feed
It may surprise you to learn that you can actually train your news feed to display the posts you most want to see. One of the simplest training methods is to tell Facebook what you DON’T want to see.
Go to your news feed, begin scrolling down and when you see something you’d prefer not to be seeing – whether that’s the content itself, or the person sharing it, click the down arrow that appears at the top right of that post to reveal a range of options.
The first option on the list that appears will be ‘Hide Post’, or in the case of sponsored posts, ‘I don’t want to see this’. Pressing it will remove that post from your news feed, and notify Facebook that you would prefer to see less of this type of content in your news feed.
It will also give you an additional option to ‘see less’ from the publisher or source of that content.
2. Unfollow Pages & People
Following on from our first step, you can use the same dropdown on posts in the news feed to ‘unfollow’ any source – stopping all future content from entering your news feed (unless of course you re-follow them at later stage).
If you have a specific Page you would like to stop seeing in your news feed you can also go directly to the Page and ‘unfollow’. Find the Page and click the down arrow on the ‘Liked’ button within the cover image to reveal a list of options. ‘Following’ will be ticked in cases where you are subscribed to their updates, click ‘following’ to stop receiving updates in your news feed (whilst retaining the ‘Liked’ status).
In the case of individuals you can also unfollow (This might save you from difficult conversations around why you dropped them as a friend). Go to their Profile and click on the button ‘Following’ to stop seeing their updates in your news feed.
Try it for yourself now, go to Facebook and search for your most annoying Pages and Friends and unfollow.
3. Stop or Limit Notifications from Groups
If you’ve ever joined a Group on Facebook to identify or purchase goods you’ll be aware of just how much stuff is touted on Facebook every day. This can leave your news feed looking more like a garage sale than a social network. Similarly you may have joined a business networking group and found it more like a free ad section of a local newspaper.
To stop notifications from a Group, or perhaps to limit the amount of notifications you receive, go to the Group’s page and click on ‘Notifications’ to reveal a set of options. To stop all notifications select ‘Off’ – other options include options to see popular posts and those from friends’ on the Group only.
Try it for yourself now, go to a Group and change your notification settings.
Not sure what Groups you’ve joined over the years? If so, go to the top right hand corner of your screen while on Facebook and click the small down arrow to reveal the menu. In this menu, find ‘News Feed Preferences’, click on it to reveal a new, pop-up window. The screen shows you a summary of the Pages and People you have seen the most of in your news feed over the past week.
To see a list of all the Groups you are following select ‘Groups’ on the left (you can choose at the top whether to see the list in an alphabetical order). In order to unfollow any Group, click on the ‘Following’ button shown to the right of the Group title to change it to read ‘+Follow’ – you will no longer receive any updates in your news feed, however, you will remain a member of that Group.
To leave a Group entirely, click on its title to open the Group Page and where it says ‘Joined’, press to reveal an option to ‘Leave Group’.
4. Change your Ad Preferences
Facebook is a commercial organisation, they can only provide you with the free tools to speak with your friends on the basis that you pay for it by viewing advertising. Therefore, paid for posts or adverts are essential parts of the news feed and are there to stay.
You can, however, exercise some control over the adverts you see, and the advertisers who advertise to you. You can also train Facebook to know what you are really interested in, rather than what it thinks you’re interested in.
Choose any advert – for the purposes of this exercise it is probably easiest to use one of those that appear in the right hand column, alongside your news feed. If you hover over the advert’s image you will see a small ‘x’ appear in the top right corner. If you click the ‘x’ it will reveal a list of options.
To hide the advert click ‘I don’t want to see this’, to stop seeing adverts for the advertiser click ‘Hide all from’.
From the list of options click on ‘Why am I seeing this?’. This will open a new pop-up window explaining why you have been selected to see the advert. Within the ‘Ad Preferences’ section there is a link to ‘Manage Your Ad Preferences’. Clicking the link will open a new page listing all your interests (as Facebook sees it anyhow) grouped by categories such as ‘Hobbies & Activities’, ‘Lifestyle & Culture’ and ‘Family & Relationships’. You can now view any of those interests and remove them by clicking the ‘x’ to the right of each one. You can also add new interests at the top by entering the text and searching for results.
Taking some time to prune your ad preferences should help you stop seeing so many irrelevant ads – this will improve the paid-for, advertorial elements of your news feed, making the overall experience of using Facebook more enjoyable (we hope).
5. Select your Close Friends
You can add selected friends, those you would like to see more of in your new feed, to your Close Friends list. Adding friends to this list will ensure you see more of them in your News Feed, and get notifications each time they post (although you can turn these notifications off).
To add friends to your Close Friends list from your home page, in the left menu of your home page, scroll down to the Friends section and click ‘More’, then click ‘Close Friends’. In the top right, enter names of friends you want to add in the ‘Add friends to this list’ box.
Alternatively, you can add a friend from their profile – Click Friends on their cover photo and select ‘Close Friends’.
6. Assign your Acquaintances
If you’re anything like me you probably have a whole bunch of friends on Facebook that are a hangover from some other time in your life, and to be honest you’re just not that interested in hearing from them all so often any more.
It is for this group that Facebook created the ‘Acquaintances List’, a list of friends you don’t need to stay in close touch with. Friends added to this list will rarely show up in your News Feed, leaving more space for the updates you’re really interested in.
To add friends to your list go to your Friends section on your left sidebar alongside the news feed and click ‘Acquaintances’. On the next page, in the right hand side bar you can search for any friends in the box provided or view your prepopulated ‘List Suggestions’ – a list of friends you haven’t interacted with much on Facebook in recent times. To add any friend to the list click on their name as it appears.
8. Review and Repeat
There is an option to review your News Feed Preferences via Facebook’s main settings menu. To access this, click on the drop-down arrow at the top-right of your Home Page and select “News Feed Preferences” (we mentioned it in an earlier step). From here you can view a summary of your most seen, see who you’ve un-followed, and recap on Pages and Groups that you have shown an interest in.
The Summary tab is your weekly source of information on what you have been exposed to the most, in your news feed, over the previous week, keep an eye on it! This will reveal the Pages and people you might want to hide, unfollow, unfriend, unlike or move to a list in future.
We hope you’ve found these steps useful, we’d love to hear how you get on with using them for yourself -let us know in the comments.
- If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here. ( January 7, 2019 )
- Remarketing as a strategy and not a tactic ( August 31, 2016 )
- Proactive or reactive. Which best describes your marketing? ( August 17, 2016 )
- Are your social media efforts a waste of money? ( July 23, 2016 )
- Conversion Tracking: The Key to Measuring Your Results on Facebook ( July 14, 2016 )