Facebook’s News Feed is broken! Facebook is only showing me stupid stuff! My News Feed is boring! Facebook is lame! The News Feed is useless!
If any of those exclamations sound familiar, this quick guide is for you and your friends. Most articles about “fixing” and “improving” the News Feed focus on advertisers, marketers, and businesses. These tips and tricks aren’t for them, they’re for you.
As more users and companies not only join Facebook, but increasingly post and like more content, the social network’s main hub becomes more and more overloaded. Unlike Twitter, which shows you every single tweet from people you follow (and from some you don’t), Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what to show you.
Unfortunately, the algorithm is having a harder time figuring out what users think is good content. The company is constantly updating its system, especially lately, but if you have found that’s not enough, here are a few ways you can help it along.
The quick fixes
These fixes only need to be performed once. If you don’t want to spend time curating your Facebook account, just do these ones and you should see an improvement in your News Feed’s quality.
Rate Facebook posts
Let’s start off with a trick that most Facebook users simply don’t know about. Login, go to your News Feed, and on any post you see, click the arrow in the top-right corner.
The last option (“Take a survey to make News Feed better”), which many people completely miss, is the one you want:
You should see a “Tell Us What You Think” message pop up informing you that you’ll be rating a bunch of Facebook posts (15 to be exact). Click the blue “Start Now” button.
Here’s an example of the first post we had to rate:
Notice that the statement above is “This post feels like an ad” — this is the only statement we were given against which to rate for all 15 entries, but your mileage may vary. Throughout the survey you should see different types of status updates, posts between friends, and Page posts.
Once you’re done with the last entry, you should see this message:
Clicking the blue “Rate More Posts” button will essentially let you take the survey again with 15 additional posts. We don’t think this is necessary unless you enjoyed the rating process.
Move friends to acquaintances
The next trick consists of using a hidden Facebook tool. It has just a few steps and as far as we can tell, it can only be accessed directly from facebook.com/friends/organize.
It essentially detects friends with whom you interact little on the social network and asks if you want to move them into the Acquaintances group, which the News Feed highlights less. In my case, the tool found seven people with whom I worked at BlackBerry when it was still called Research In Motion:
You can choose to uncheck some or all of the recommendations. Regardless of whether you choose “No Thanks” or “Add To Acquaintances” you will be shown the next group of people, in my case 35 who live in the same city as me:
At the end, you’ll be shown friends not in any of Facebook’s automatically-generated lists:
After you’re done (you may have fewer or more than three steps in total), you’ll be encouraged to share Facebook’s organize tool with your friends:
In this last case, we recommend choosing “No Thanks.” You can of course link them to the tool manually, without Facebook’s marketing rhetoric attached. Better yet, just point them to this guide.
The tips below are meant to be done on an ongoing basis. Do these ones when you have a few minutes here and there to tweak your Facebook account.
Unfriend annoying friends
Over the years, you’ve probably added a bunch of Facebook friends with whom you no longer interact with whatsoever. Just unfriend them.
Go to their profile, highlight the “Friends” menu and click on the last option. It’s a hard choice to make, but your News Feed will be better for it.
Unfollow friends whom you can’t unfriend
For personal or professional reasons, sometimes we can’t just unfriend everyone we want. That doesn’t mean they have to clutter up your News Feed though!
Go to your friend’s profile and click the “Following” button so that it says “Follow.” Your friend will not get a notification, so don’t worry about them finding out.
Unlike Pages and everything else
Go to your profile, highlight the More drop-down menu, and choose Likes. From here, unlike anything and everything you don’t want to see in your News Feed.
Just like friends, you can also unfollow Pages without unliking them, though we wouldn’t recommend doing so since Pages can still push ads to your News Feed if you like them. You can also unfollow people and Pages directly from the News Feed, from the same drop-down menu we mentioned at the start of this guide.
Like any algorithm, the one that manages the Facebook News Feed is not perfect. You can help it along, and while you should see a significant improvement, you will likely still see content you don’t want to.
At the end of the day, no software can truly figure out what a human enjoys. It can make educated guesses based on what you tell it, but it will make mistakes. Even if it didn’t, we are constantly changing, and so are who and what we like.
If you have more tips, let us know. We’ll update this guide as the News Feed continues to evolve.