Facebook Allows Users to Hide Recent Activity Story Types From Their Profile Walls

Now when users go to hide an automatically generated Recent Activity post from the wall of their profile, they’ll have the option to “Hide all” current and future stories of that type. For instance, users could choose to never show Recent Activity stories when they add someone as a friend, RSVP to an Event, comment on a photo, or Like a Page. Users can unhide story types if they reconsider via the profile story settings manager.

The new “hide all” option will allow users to freely take action around the site without announcing these activities or manually hiding the stories they produce. This will be especially useful for power users who might leave dozens of comments or Like dozens of Pages at a time

Facebook has made several other changes to the Recent Activity section of the profile wall over the last few months. It tested and then implemented text excerpts for comment activity stories, began showing a “became friends after attending [Event]” story, and tested showing Page Likes as rich, full news feed stories before reverting them to simple, one-line Recent Activity stories.

To use the new “Hide all” option, users can click the ‘x’ next to a Recent Activity feed story they don’t want shown on their profile wall. This will reveal the standard option to remove just that post, as well as one to “Hide all [of that story type]”. If clicked, the “Hide all” option reveals a confirmation prompt explaining that all stories of that type will no long appear in Recent Activity.

If users click the “Edit Options” link at the end of the prompt or at the bottom of their profile wall, they’re shown the “Edit your profile story settings” manager, allowing them to return previously hidden story types to their wall. Note that friends will still be able to see a user’s activity where it took place — the “hide all” option merely prevents a link to that activity from appearing on a user’s profile. Only users can take advantage of this options — Pages only have the ability to remove individual Recent Activity stories, not hide them in the future.

As well as enabling users to secretly engage with content on the site over time, the new option facilitates bursts of certain types of activity. For instance, a user could answer a slew of Facebook Questions, update their profile by Liking all of their new favorite bands, or leave a multitude of comments on a new photo album of a best friend. It can also help users preemptively scrub their profile of Recent Activity stories that might get them in trouble, such as commenting on a photo of an ex-girlfriend, or posting identical birthday greetings to multiple friends.

By enabling this option, Facebook increases flexibility in site usage for its most engaged or sensitive users. This means they can interact as much as they want with whoever they want without broadcasting their habits, which for may have been inhibiting activity for some. Brand marketers might not be too happy about the new option though, as the Recent Activity stories published when users Like a Page or comment on a Page’s wall can help convert their friends into fans.

Update: To be clear, this only hides stories from the Recent Activity section of a user’s wall. News feed stories about actions that have been hidden using this feature still appear to friends.

[Thanks to Brittany Darwell and Lionel Bonnaz for the tip]