Starting this week, Facebook will show users a note at the top of their account prompting them to select friends and pages whose content will appear higher than other posts in their news feed. “We care about showing you posts from people who matter to you,” the note reads. “We’ve made new controls that allow you to prioritize friends and family in your news feed.”
This feature is part of a series of steps that the social network guides you through to customize your news feed. Facebook says it added it “as a way to help prioritize stories and make sure people don’t miss posts from particular friends and pages.” This feature is opt-in; to dismiss it, tap or click the button in the top-right of the post and select “I don’t want to see this.”
To prioritize friends and pages, select the “Pick Friends” link at the bottom of the notification. This sends you to a page where you can browse through your connections or search for people and pages by name. Tap their profile pictures to add them; the next time you refresh your news feed, these users’ posts will display at the top with a yellow star icon to indicate it’s a prioritized post.
[Related: 3 tips to help control your Facebook Feed]
Facebook suggests three additional steps to tweak your news feed. Next, it prompts you to unfollow people to hide their posts. Unfollowing a user is different from unfriending them; the former maintains your Facebook friendship, but removes their posts from your news feed, while the latter severs all ties on Facebook.
The social network also asks you to reconnect with people you’ve unfollowed – a handy reminder of the people and pages you’ve removed from your news feed in the past. To re-follow them and add their content back to your news feed, select their name from the list.
Finally, Facebook suggests that you “discover more pages that match your interests” from a preselected list, presumably based on your interests. You can skip this – and any of the other steps – by tapping Done in the top-right corner.
To tweak any of your news feed settings later, find these same options on your mobile device by tapping the More button at the bottom > Settings > News Feed Preferences. On the desktop, hover over the News Feed option in the left-side menu, click the gear icon, then “Edit Preferences.”
Facebook launched its last major update to news feeds back in April, when it announced that it was changing the algorithm that handled what posts, photos and videos it showed users.
“The goal of news feed is to show you the content that matters to you,” said Max Eulenstein, Facebook’s product manager, and Lauren Scissors, user experience research, in a blog post. “This means we need to give you the right mix of updates from friends and public figures, publishers, businesses and community organizations you are connected to. This balance is different for everyone depending on what people are most interested in learning about every day.”