Last week, Facebook changed the options in its news feed settings so users either “Show posts from: friends and Pages you interact with the most” or from “all of your friends and Pages.” Some users have unknowingly been defaulted to the first option, causing lot of content to be hidden from them without their knowledge.
It’s not exactly clear what determines which default users receive, though newer accounts appear more likely to only be seeing content from a subset of friends. Previously users could select exactly how many of their friends they saw posts from.
Users can manually configure this setting by scrolling to the very bottom of their news feed and clicking the “Edit Options” link. This brings up the “Edit Your News Feed Settings” window where users can select from the two “Show posts from” options. They can also manage the list of friends, Pages, and applications they’ve hidden from their news feed by clicking the ‘x’ button next to one of their posts and choosing to “Hide all by author”.
Facebook’s news feed settings have become much simpler over the past few years. In 2007, users could manipulate sliders for each type of story to control how often they appeared. In 2008, users could increase or decrease prominence of specific friends in-line from the news feed. Before the current interface, users defaulted to seeing posts from their 250 closest friends unless they increased the maximum.
The reduction in granularity of control contrasts with the increasing granularity available in Facebook’s privacy settings. Facebook may have decided that setting a specific number of friends to see was too arbitrary.
When making the decision of whether to see posts from all or only some friends and Pages, users should think about how often they skim past uninteresting updates in their feed. If its only a few especially noisy friends that are cluttering their feed, they should just hide those users. If they are frequently bored or think there’s too much to read, they should select to only see a subset.
However, if users want the most comprehensive news feed possible, they should go into their settings and ensure that they’re seeing posts from all friends and Pages.
[Thanks to Kellie Mairs for the tip.]