Facebook Friends List Can Help Control Your News Feed

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Facebook Friends List Can Help You Manage Your News Feed and Facebook Life

Facebook Status Box with dropdown menu
Facebook publishing box, with dropdown menu allowing you tosend your message to a certain list, or to block a list from seeing it. © Facebook

The Facebook friends list is a powerful tool that allows you to control who sees what you do on Facebook and – equally as important – how much you see of each friend’s activity in your own news feed.

The Facebook friends list serves two basic functions:

  • It lets you decide which friends can see each status update you send.
  • It also lets you decide how much and what type of status updates and activity notices you want to see from each of your friends.

By default, the world’s largest social network creates a bunch of Facebook friend lists for you. These include ones for your close friends, your acquaintances and any work or college groups you may belong to on the network. You can also create custom lists, too.

Why Facebook Lists Make Things Easier

One convenient thing about a friends list is that you can choose a setting for everyone on it with a single click. That saves you having to individually edit the display settings for each and every friend, one by one, in order to hide Facebook friends so their updates don't show on your wall or news feed. Just add them to your list with people you feel similarly about.

Distant acquaintances might go on one list, for example, and long-lost childhood friends to another. Work colleagues could form one list, and friends who share a hobby with you might be on another.

One-Click Can Dial Up a List or Dial it Down in News Feed

At the very least, you should put all the people you don't really want to hear much from onto a particular list. If you do that, then with one click you can change the setting for how often you want their updates to appear in your Facebook news feed.

One-Click Also Controls Posting to a List, or Blocking a List

Having all of these people on a list together also allows you to selectively send a status update to a particular list and not have anyone else see it. First put your best pals on your “close friends” list, and then when you sent the update you don't want anyone else to see, just select the "close friends" list from the publishing box and only send your note to that list.To send posts to certain lists, click the dropdown menu to the left of the post button and select the list you want.

You can also do the reverse--block a list of friends from seeing a particular post. To do this, select the “block this list” option when you sent your update.

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Adding People to a Facebook Friends List

Box used to create a custom Facebook friends list.
Box used to create a custom Facebook friends list. © Facebook

To add a friend to any list, hover over their name in your news feed. A "Friends" button will appear at the bottom of the popup box. Click that, and you'll have access to a menu of options controlling how much of their activities and status updates you want to see.

Your key options for quantity are “all,” “most” and “only important,” which is measured by the amount of comments, likes, and other activity it generates from other friends.

Close Friends and Acquaintances Lists

At the top of the menu, you should see a few existing friend lists; just click the ones you want to add the person to.

Facebook Creates Close Friends List for You

”Close friends” is a list that Facebook automatically creates based on how much you interact with people on the network. You can easily add or delete people from it using the menu. The “acquaintances” list is not populated automatically; you have to manually add people to that one. It’s a good one to group people you don't want to hear much from.

How to Create a Custom Facebook Friends List

As stated, Facebook creates a bunch of lists for you based on your current and former places of work, family relationships and schools you've attended. You can edit these, of course.

You can create new Facebook friends lists, too. To create a custom list, click the "Home" link at the top of any Facebook page, then click the little "MORE” link next to "Friends" in the sidebar on the left side of the page.

This will take you to your page for managing your Facebook friends lists. Edit any list by selecting the tiny pencil icon to the left of its name.

Click "Create a List" on the right to start a new one. A popup box will appear inviting you to give your list a name and start adding members. (See image at top of this page.) After naming it, click "CREATE" at the bottom, then go and find some people to add.

Now that you’re ready to populate your list, click “next” and we’ll explain how to add people to your new list.

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Create a Facebook Friends List, Add People To It, Manage Where It Shows Up

Manage Facebook friends list menu
Menu for managing a Facebook friends list. © Facebook

After you click "Create" to start a new friends list, you'll see a page instructing you to go find some people to put on it.

To add people, you can use the search bar at the top of the page to find particular friends. Go to their profile page, click "Friends" and add them to a list. Facebook also may show some people under "List Suggestions" on the right. Finally, you can also scroll through your news feed and selectively add people by mousing over their username and clicking the "friends" button.

After you have created a list, to manage what it will show in terms of your news feed and ticker, click on the list and then on the "Manage List" button on the right side of the page.

You should see a menu of options like the image at the top of this page.

Click "Choose Update Types" to specify what type of content you want to see from all the people on that list. Uncheck everything on the list if you don't want to see anything from these people in your news feed or ticker.

For more help, Facebook maintains a page explaining all the features of ​Facebook friends lists. You should also learn how to adjust your settings to make Facebook private when you need it to be.

Finally, the exercise of creating Facebook friends lists should help you stop and think about the value of a Facebook friendship -- and real-world friendships, too.

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