Facebook's news feed algorithm, which determines the posts you see and the ones you don't, has been a work in progress -- and pain point for users -- for years. This week, the social network took another step toward giving back some control with a new set of preferences that dictate which friends and pages you want to see content from first.
"We know that ultimately you're the only one who truly knows what is most meaningful to you, and that is why we want to give you more ways to control what you see,"says Jacob Frantz, product manager at Facebook.
Facebook's News Feed Preferences let you select the friends and pages you'd like to see at the top of your news feed. It also offers quick ways to hide and unfollow posts from friends, and view the people you've already unfollowed.
These changes follow updates the social network announced in April to better balance users' news feeds.
Facebook's newest preferences aren't the only ways you can tailor your news feed. Here's a look at the latest changes, plus other tips to clean up the clutter.
1. Prioritize friends and pages
To access News Feed Preferences from a mobile device, tap the More tab at the bottom, then scroll to Settings and tap News Feed Preferences. Then find "Prioritize who to see first"to select friends and pages.
To add a friend, tap their profile picture. The next time you load your news feed, you'll see the stories that they've shared since your last visit to Facebook at the top. Their posts will feature a star in the top-right to show that Facebook has prioritized them. Scroll beyond your starred posts to see the rest of your news feed content.
To prioritize friends and pages from the desktop, hover over the News Feed button in the menu on the left, click the gear icon, then select Edit Preferences. This will show you the friends who appeared most in your news feed in the last week. You can also sort your friend list alphabetically.
To prioritize a friend, click the drop-down menu beside their name and select See First. To prioritize pages, click the Pages tab from the menu on the left.
2. Hide friends and pages
Everyone has a friend who posts too often and floods your news feed with annoying memes and baby pictures. Facebook has a few ways you can rid them from your news feed.
To unfollow someone via Facebook's new News Feed Preferences page, tap "Unfollow people to hide their posts."Scroll through your list of friends and pages and tap the ones you want to unfollow. Unfollowing a friend is different from unfriending them; Unfollowing means you won't see their posts in your news feed, but you remain Facebook friends. This page does not let you search for friends by name.
If you don't want to scroll through your list of friends and pages within the News Feed Preferences page, use the search bar to navigate to their timeline. Click the Following button beside their profile picture at the top of their page, then select Unfollow.
Finally, you can unfollow a friend directly from a post in your news feed. Hover over the post and click Unfollow from the drop-down menu on the right.
3. View most recent
Facebook says that users' news feeds contain more than 1,500 stories every day. Facebook's algorithm does the work to determine, based on a number of factors, which posts are most important to you --and displays only the most relevant 10 percent, it says.
That means you're missing out on a lot of content --which you can change by switching your news feed view from Top Stories to Most Recent. This will show you everything in chronological order.
To find that option, click the drop-down menu that appears when you hover over the News Feed button on the left side. On mobile, tap the More option, then select Most Recent. Your news feed will reload to show you posts in chronological order.
4. Use lists
Friend lists are an easy way to view posts only from select people. To create a list--one for family members, for example --visit your Lists page. Find this on the left-side menu by clicking More next to the Friends subhead.
On the Lists page, click Create List, then assign it a name and add members. When you're finished, the list will appear on the left-side navigation under the Friends subhead. Click on the friend list to show updates in your news feed from only them.
5. Sort by pages feed
If you follow many news outlets, or subscribe to retailer pages for discounts and promotions, it might be useful to view these posts separately -- without the noise from your friends.
You'll find this option under the Pages subhead on the left-side navigation. Click Pages Feed to load content only from the pages you've liked.