Facebook on Thursday introduced and updated set of controls letting you finally tell the service precisely what you want to see in your News Feed, as opposed to relying to Facebook’s mysterious algorithm which surfaces posts its servers think you want to see while demoting others it flagged as uninteresting.
The reworked controls now permit you to actively shape and improve your personalized News Feed experience.
You also get more control over what you see in your News Feed via a brand new ‘See First’ option designed to help you prioritize whose posts you don’t want to miss to ensure you’ll always find them at the top of your News Feed.
To do so, first bring up the revamped News Feed Preferences by tapping More in the bottom right hand corner of Facebook’s mobile app.
News Feed Preferences are located under Settings.
To ensure a friend’s posts appear at the top of your News Feed, tap their profile picture.
“You will then see any new stories they’ve shared since your last visit to Facebook at the top of News Feed, with a star in the top right of their post so you know why they’re at the top,” Facebook explains.
Redesigned, much expanded News Feed Preferences also include options to discover new Pages to make sure you don’t miss posts from particular Pages, unfollow people to hide their posts from your News Feed and reconnect with those you unfollowed.
Before today, unfollowing friends and pages was only possible on the web.
Discovering new Facebook Pages is now easier because Facebook tracks the types of Pages you’ve liked in the past. Same applies to following and unfollowing specific friends and Pages as you can now access a list of the top people, Pages and groups that you’ve seen in your News Feed over the past week.
From there, simply choose friends, Pages or groups to unfollow, see who you’ve unfollowed in the past and choose to re-follow them at any time.
Check out the refreshed News Feed controls in Facebook’s promo video below.
Keep in mind that you can add up to 30 people or Pages to automatically appear at the top of your News Feed every time you fire up the mobile app. Strangely enough, Facebook won’t use your hand-picked ‘See First’ list to improve its ad targeting.
“It sounds counterintuitive, but the worse we do on rankings, the more we make people try and scroll through, the more likely they are to just go away,” a Facebook spokesperson told Re/code. “If we show you the stuff you really really want first, you’ll come back more often.”
As mentioned before, these changes will be hitting Facebook’s iPhone and iPad application via an App Store update later today. Curiously, the new News Feed experience is rolling out to iOS customers first, with Android and desktop users scheduled to receive it “over the coming weeks.”
In other Facebook news, the company is reportedly in the early stages of planning its own music-streaming service and is already testing ad-supported native videos with a small group of media partners using a third-party content ID system akin to YouTube.
Facebook is available at no cost in the App Store.