How To Reclaim Your Facebook News Feed – 20 Spring Cleaning Tips
Have you noticed how much Facebook has changed over the last couple of years, and has become a shadow of its previous self. While it used to be all about seeing what your friends and family were up to, the feed has changed into a massive stream of info, news content, ads and other content to the point where we wonder why we still use the service today.
Today we’ve decided to give our profiles a massive spring clean and get the most out of some hidden features that not everybody knows about. The thing about the Facebook news feed is that you have a lot of control over what you get to see and your privacy settings, but few people use them effectively. We’ve decided to pick twenty features to help you reclaim your Facebook profile and make the whole experience more useful.
Remove Apps You No Longer Use
One of the more annoying parts of Facebook are the apps that you sign up to play games with or to enter competitions. While it only seems like one innocent click at the time, you are stuck with that app, unless you start changing which ones can access your profile. You will want to head over to this page and you will actually be stunned at how many you have granted access to.
Once here, you should remove every single app that you no longer use or don’t plan to use in the future. Even the apps that you plan to keep are going to annoy you at times so you can go into each one individually and choose what settings and notifications you want. While this process will take a bit of time, we strongly advise that you take the time to do it.
Most people will have liked many different pages over the years, but let’s face it, our tastes change over time and what we liked two years ago may no longer be relevant. You might also like brands and businesses from adverts and competitions that you have entered so removing them will make your feed much better.
Facebook doesn’t make it easy to remove likes because they want to keep as much information in their database for advertisers to use, but you can click into your activity log on your profile, click on likes and then you are presented with everything that you have ever liked. Once in there, browse through the pages that you have liked and remove the ones you want by clicking through to the page and then clicking “unlike”. It takes quite a few steps, but this will drastically improve the content you see.
Adjust Your Notifications
Getting notifications that are no longer relevant to you like invites can become tiresome. If you head over to the notifications page, you can filter what you see and when you get notified. While most people love the sight of that little red notification at the top of their page, it can lead to a bunch of unwanted noise so this will mean you’re only notified about the news that’s relevant to you.
Adjust Your Privacy Settings
Are your friends and family getting too involved with all your Facebook photos and updates? Do you not want your boss appearing on comments in your Facebook news feed and seeing what you get up to in your spare time? Facebook has a raft of privacy settings that let you control absolutely everything you post and who gets to comment and engage with it.
Head over to the privacy page and start playing with them to control every single last detail about your Facebook profile. Most people don’t mind who gets to see their content, but if you find that Facebook is getting too noisy and you want to reign it in a little, then you will find a lot to like about its privacy settings. Take the time to look through them all before you do anything.
Turn On Subscriptions
One of the biggest problems on Facebook is a bloated friends list where you start seeing tons of updates from people who you don’t keep in touch with any longer. There is a good option though that stops you from having to accept friend requests from anyone who asks: Subscriptions.
Originally, this feature was set up for politicians and celebs who get a lot of friend requests, but you can turn on subscriptions easily here as well and it allows you to better control what people see. You can make it so as people only see your photos, your updates or certain pieces of content. The act of doing this will mean you don’t have to accept every friend request that comes along and will decrease the number of stories appearing.
Change Friends To Subscribers
There could be a case where you want to unfriend somebody, but you don’t mind them seeing your updates. Simply go into that friend’s profile, go to settings and click ‘unfriend.’ Doing this will unfriend them, but they will still be subscribed to your public updates, and they won’t be notified about it either.
Hide Updates Without Unfriending People
When talking to people who don’t know Facebook as well as I do, the most common thing I hear is that they really want to unfriend people who are constantly cluttering their news feed with useless updates, but that they don’t want to remove a good friend. Luckily there is an option that allows you to hide their updates without them every being any wiser.
When you see an update that is annoying, you simply click on the little arrow on the corner of the post. This reveals a drop down menu of options that can hide all updates from that user if they are really annoying, or you can choose to see only important updates from them. The other person or page will have no idea that you have done this.
Add People To Close Friends
You may have noticed that you don’t always see updates from your closest friends on Facebook. For example, the updates of somebody that you used to get on with, but rarely interact with, could practically disappear from your news feed.
This is a bit of a flaw with Facebook, but it can be easily fixed. Head over to your friends profile, click on the “friends” icon on their profile and it will present you with a list of options. You can choose how many times you see their updates in your news feed, or even add them to “Close friends.” Doing this will give them priority in everything you do and makes sure you never miss another update from them again.
Groups are one of the most neglected features on Facebook, which is a massive shame because they give you the ability to control noise and push certain groups of people into a specific place. We have a work group, for example, where only people from Simply Zesty communicate and it means that instead of us all posting stuff to our general Facebook profiles and annoying people who don’t work here, we can set up a group where we all see relevant content.
These group posts will still appear in your news feed, but you can turn off notifications and keep the group private if you want to do so by hiding all on your own news feed.
Create A Facebook List
Finding lists is relatively easy, but what if you wanted to create your own list and tidy up your news feed into something more manageable. On the left sidebar under interests, select add interests and on the lists page, you will see ‘create list’ up at the top of the page. You can either base your list on your friends, subscriptions or pages you like, but Facebook will also give you suggestions based on topic. What type of list you create, be it specific or general is up to you, but it will bring all updates into one place for you.
If there are people who you want to stay friends with, but don’t want to block them, you can place them in an acquaintance list. Simply go to friends on the left-hand side and click ‘More.‘ You will see the option appear second on the list where you will be presented with a number of suggested friends. Any friends who are added to this list will rarely appear in your news feed and if you’re posting something, you can choose to exclude these people by choosing ‘custom’ in privacy settings.
Subscribe To The Lists Of Others
Lists are one of the most useful features on Facebook yet they are ignored by most people. While creating your own list is a huge amount of work, you can just tap into all the hard work that other people have done by subscribing to their lists. Just go to interest lists at the very bottom of the page, click ‘add interests‘ and you can search for lists created by your friends and others. You can search for particular lists in the search bar above.
Edit Notifications For Groups/Own Lists
As handy as lists are, some of them you will want to prioritise ahead of others. However, you might find someone else’s list to be handy, but the chances are you want to adjust notification settings too. In a groups page, you’ll find the notifications settings up at the top right-hand side of the page where you can be notified to all posts, friends’ posts or to turn them off altogether.
For interest lists, provided you’ve set them up, go to manage list and click on ‘choose update types.’ Here you can untick number of suggestions like status updates, photos, comments, videos and other activity.
Change News Feed Updates
Chances are the news feed you’re looking at isn’t chronological, but what Facebook calls top stories. The idea is that you may end up missing certain updates or posts, which Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm prioritises posts from friends, groups, lists and subscriptions.
While some people may find this useful, others will perhaps wish for news to be listed from most recent to oldest, so at the top of the feed, just underneath the update status bar, you will see ‘sort.’ Click on this and you can change your feed to show most recent stories instead of what Facebook defines as top stories.
Hide News Ticker
The news ticker is a great way of seeing what your friends are doing, but most of the time, it can be an unnecessary distraction and can easily distract you if you’re only quickly checking the site. To get rid of it, simply click the small arrow button located at the top of the ticker. This will hide it.
If you’re viewing Facebook in full-screen, there’s a different way to hide it. At the bottom of the chat sidebar, there is the option to hide both the ticker and the chat window, letting you browse Facebook in peace.
Advanced Chat Settings
Beside the hide sidebar (when you’re in full screen mode), you’ll see the option for chat settings. Alongside the option to turn off chat, you can access advanced chat settings which lets you control who you want to appear to online. You can either turn on chat for certain friends, or adjust it so you don’t appear for certain people. Handy if you want to make sure chats are only kept to your closest friends.
If you’re not in full-screen mode, you’ll find settings at the top of the chat bar.
Turn Off Facebook Events Notifications
It’s nice to be invited to events, but sometimes being alerted to anyone that replies or posts something on the event page can be annoying. To get rid of this, go into the event page and in settings, located up at the top right-hand corner, simply click ‘turn off notifications.’ You won’t receive any more updates relating to that event.
Block Events Invites
What’s perhaps even worse is if you’re invited to numerous events by the same two or three people which you have no interest in attending. To block event invitations, simply go to the privacy settings, and select manage blocking. You will see the option to block event invitations near the bottom so type in the name of the person or people and you will ignore future event requests from that person.
Reduce Email Notifications
It’s not just your news feed that can be clogged up with pointless updates, your email account can go through the same problem. To reduce the number of emails you get, simply go to ‘account settings,’ and then ‘notifications.‘ Here you will have the option to reduce the frequency of these emails or you can scroll further down and manage your settings manually.
Failing that, if you’re looking for a different way to tidy things up, you can install a plugin for your browser. One popular choice would be Social Fixer which takes away the annoying parts of the site and lets you customise it easily through built-in buttons. There are other plugins for Chrome and Firefox that will let you edit a particular section of Facebook such as comments or photos if that’s more suited.