How to get a more relevant News Feed on Facebook
As a Facebook user, you are susceptible to an average of 1,500 stories gracing your News Feed each day. That's a fair few, some of which are probably right up your street, others as dull as dishwater. So how do you make all the stories relevant, without using the dreaded 'Unfriend' option?
According to Facebook, its algorithm determines which stories appear first by responding to certain signals from you, allowing them to prioritise an average of 300 out of the potential 1,500.
If you like, share or comment on a post, it assumes you want to see more of the person, or similar posts. It also takes into account how much you interact with a person or similar posts, as well as how other users respond, using a system to score each post accordingly.
In the system, which is constantly being refined by the engineers at the social network, shares are more important than likes, and likes are more important than clicks. So if you'd rather not see a particular person, it seems the best way is to avoid them altogether, no matter how tempting it is to share a ridiculous post.
Alternatively, like something they have posted and you will be greeted with more of them. The good news though is that even though Facebook's algorithm will work to try to give you the best of what it thinks you will want, you can override that and customise what you want to see.
Here are some tips to help you get the content important to you, as that is it's purpose after all. Not the ad revenue of course.
Hide the posts altogether
Yes, you can actually hide the people you don't want to appear. Mean we know, but if you are sick of the sight of one friend, all you have to do is hover over the top-right corner on their post and select "I don't want to see this". You can also make sure they stay out of your News Feed for good by selecting "Hide all stories by". A little like blanking them, but they don't know about it.
Report them to Facebook
Maybe a little harsh if you have someone just talking about how amazing their day is. But if you report a story or spam, it will not only remove it from your Feed but keep similar stories away from it in the future. Probably best used when it really is spam, rather than for comments like "Lovely cup of tea".
Split them up into different feeds
There are a number of feeds you can choose to view, ranging from Groups, Photos and All Friends to Following, Most Recent, Close Friends/Family and Music. In fact, you can even create lists of your own if you are that fussy. Choosing the various feeds is accessed using the arrows in the top-right corner of your News Feed.
Or sort them
The sort menu, very helpfully labelled "Sort" in capitals at the top of your News Feed, allows you to choose between Top Stories and Most Recent. As you would guess, if you select Most Recent, the stories you will see will be in the order they were posted. However if you go down the Top Stories route, you will be fed the "most interesting", whatever that constitutes as is down to the computer.
Filter them even further
If you like some friends more than others, then you can choose to see more of the particular person by scrolling over their profile picture or the Friends button at the top of their timeline. You will then be given the option to "Show in News Feed", to receive regular updates. Note - pick people with exciting lives for this one. There is also the Friends tab on the left hand column where you can select a certain group of Friends, such as Hometown. This of course, also applies for Groups and Pages you follow.
Bump them all together
Finally there is Story Bumping. Something you can’t directly control, because the recent update to the News Feed ranking algorithm actually does it. Stories you didn't scroll far enough down to see automatically reappear near the top of your News Feed if they are still getting lots of attention. Ignored it once? Well you'll just have to ignore it again. In testing, it has seen a 13 per cent increase in "read" stories, bringing the total to 70 per cent.
The News Feed has been around for 10 years, since the start of Facebook itself, and it has already undergone a revamp to bring a stronger focus on automating the way information is delivered to users. So if you are bored of the same people, or the same posts, it's time to either bite the bullet and "Unfriend" or choose what you want for yourself, rather than leaving it up to the Facebook crystal ball.