Facebook features

How to Clean Up Your Facebook News Feed in Just a Few Taps

On Facebook, the News Feed is king. The algorithms behind it control which posts you see from your friends and your frenemies. Every little action you do on Facebook is tracked and it’s all factored in to determine which posts show up first.

Sometimes though, Facebook gets it wrong. Your News Feed ends up clogged with articles you’re just not that interested in and posts from people you don’t really know. This does neither you nor Facebook any good. You’ll have a bad time and won’t use Facebook much so they won’t make any money serving you ads.

Thankfully, Facebook has developed some tools to help you sort your News Feed. Let’s look at how you can see the posts you want to see as soon as you log in without ever having to sort through the cruft.

Priorize and Unfollow People from Facebook’s News Feed Preferences

The first place to start is with Facebook’s own News Feed Preferences option. It’s a tool that lets you decide which people and pages show up first in your News Feed and unfollow people and pages you no longer want to see.

The tool is the same on the website, iOS, and Android, so I’m going to work through using the iOS version. Use whichever one you want.

To get to the tool on the website, click on the Settings Arrow and select News Feed Preferences.

On the mobile apps, go to Settings > News Feed Preferences.

This brings you to the News Feed Preferences tool.

Let’s start with “Prioritize Who to See First”. Select it and you’ll be presented with a list of all the people and pages you interact with the most. Select any of them that you want to show up at the top of your News Feed.

If…

How Facebook’s News Feed Sorting Algorithm Works

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Facebook doesn’t use a chronological feed, like Twitter does (or like Facebook used to). Instead, what you see in your News Feed is determined by an algorithm that sorts things based on what Facebook thinks you want to see. This is a cause of some consternation.

Every so often, a page or person I follow on Facebook complains that their posts are only reaching a small fraction of their followers and begs everyone to add them to their See First list so they can “keep reaching all the fans”. They claim Facebook is cutting them off and hiding them from some of their follower’s feeds so they’ll pay for Promoted posts. But that’s not really how Facebook works.

If you’ve used Facebook for a few years, odds are you’re friends with a few hundred people (most of whom you don’t really care about) and have liked way too many pages (again, most of which you probably don’t care about). My friend count is well north of 1100, and I dread to think about how many Pages I’ve liked.

Facebook wants to keep you and me, the users, engaged. They have poured millions of dollars into finding ways to keep as many people as possible coming back for another hit of social crack. Showing us a load of stories from former friends or pages we liked to try and win an iPhone 4 isn’t going to achieve that. So Facebook has had to find a way around that.

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How Facebook Determines What You See

So how does Facebook determine what stories appear, and what don’t? As they say in their FAQ:

The stories that show in your News Feed are influenced by your connections and activity on Facebook. This helps you to see more stories that interest you from friends you interact with the most. The number of comments and likes a post receives and what kind of story it is (ex: photo, video, status update) can also make it more likely to appear in your News Feed.

This is a little vague, so we reached out to Facebook to find out more.

Facebook has a ton of information on it, and Facebook doesn’t want…