Facebook today announced an update that gives you more control over what shows up in your News Feed. This functionality falls under what the social network refers to as “feedback” for its algorithm.
Previously, if you saw a story you’re not interested in or didn’t want to see, you could tap the arrow in the top-right corner of that story to hide it. That’s not changing, but now when you hide a story, you’ll be asked if you want to see less from that person or Page. If you choose to, you are then given yet another option: You can unfollow them if you don’t want to see any of their stories in your News Feed.
The second part of today’s update is that the News Feed settings page has been updated to let you change what you see. The page now shows a list of the top people, Pages, and Groups that you’ve seen in your News Feed over the past week:
You can choose to sort posts by people, Pages, or Groups, as well as see an overall summary. You can unfollow any person or entity here as well, so you don’t see their stories in your News Feed. Best of all, you can see who and what you’ve unfollowed in the past, in case you forget, and refollow them if you change your mind.
“What you do in News Feed helps determine what you see in News Feed,” Facebook emphasized today. “You decide who you want to connect to, and what Pages and public figures you want to follow.”
This is a very welcome update. While Facebook’s News Feed uses an algorithm to figure what stories to show you, it’s certainly far from perfect, and users have to make an effort to customize it. Today’s updates won’t change the fundamental way that the News Feed works, but it will give users more power so they can fix it for themselves.
Users asked why the News Feed doesn’t provide an unfiltered view of everything (content overload is always Facebook’s response), or why there aren’t easily accessible filters on the main page (Zuckerberg noted that users can make friend lists but acknowledged the feature is not intuitive at all). These new features are a step in the right direction, even though they’re horribly overdue.