Just because you are Facebook friends with your old lab partner from high school doesn’t mean you want to see his posts each day in your News Feed.
The social network will soon allow users to “unfollow” friends whose comments and updates they want to remove from their News Feed, according to a Facebook spokesperson.
The new Unfollow button, which was first reported by TechCrunch, will work in the same way that users were able to “hide all” from friends in the past, simply with new phrasing. The idea is that users can block content they don’t want to see from their friends without going so far as defriending them.
“The goal of this change is to help people curate their News Feed and see more of the content that they care about,” a Facebook spokesperson wrote in a statement given to Mashable.
Users are not alerted when they have been unfollowed, so it’s a relatively safe way to keep someone’s posts out of your feed without them finding out. This works well with exes, over-sharers and political hotheads.
Users can Hide All or Unfollow by clicking on the small drop-down arrow in the upper-right hand corner of any post in the News Feed. The change in language may simply be a way to more clearly state the options available to users. Other social sites like Twitter and Pinterest use terms like “follow” and “unfollow,” so Facebook may be trying to standardize this language across all platforms.
Users will also be able to see who they are following when visiting individual friends’ Facebook pages. Next to the “friends” icon on that user’s cover photo will be a separate icon that allows you to follow or unfollow someone in your News Feed.
Facebook already allows users to follow others who they are not friends with, such as public figures and celebrities. This allows the follower to see any of the celebrity’s public posts in his News Feed. The new Unfollow button is meant for a user’s friends, meaning it won’t impact Facebook’s existing follow feature.
The Unfollow feature will be available to desktop users in the coming weeks and will available on iOS and Android in the coming months, according to a spokesperson.
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