Take control of your Facebook news feed and clean it up

What does your Facebook news feed look like? Is it full of stuff you are not interested in? Are there comments, videos, stories and and other items you just don't want? Are some of the items old and out of date? Time to clean it up and get it under control.

If you are someone that spends a lot of time on Facebook, you might be wasting a lot of it ploughing through items that are of little interest. If you scroll through item after item looking for a post that is interesting, perhaps you need to filter out the irrelevant items. If you don't use Facebook, maybe it is because of the clutter in the news feed. Either way you should take a close look at it and customise it to show only what you want to see.

One of the simplest tweaks you can make to Facebook is to choose between Top stories and Most recent. Click the little arrow at the right side of News Feed in the left panel. Top stories is the default setting and it means that Facebook decides what you should see. I find that it does a poor job and posts that are important to me are not displayed.

 Facebook news feed

In addition to that, some items in the news feed are old, days old. Sometimes I look at the news feed and I'm sure I read an item days ago. It is only when I check the date that I realise I did. It's days old, but Facebook somehow thinks I should see it again.

I always switch to the Most recent setting. You have to watch this setting and check it regularly because it has a habit of switching back to Top stories all by itself.

As you mouse over the News Feed, a gear icon appears on the left. Click it and select Preferences from the little pop-up menu.

 Facebook news feed

The News Feed Preferences panel is displayed and it is organised into sections like People, Pages and Groups. Go through the sections and the list of people, companies and groups you are following. Do you really need them all? Are there some you have lost interest in? Tidy up the list and reduce the news feed clutter by unfollowing unwanted ones.

  Facebook news feed

As you read through your news feed every day, think about each post. Click the little down arrow in the top right corner and there are some useful options. The menu is different for different types of post and here is one for Search Engine Journal, which I follow.


If the post is not interesting, you can hide it. This also has the effect of reducing the likelihood of similar posts appearing in your news feed. It reduces its importance. Keep hiding similar items and you will see fewer of them. You can also unfollow the poster too, but that may be a step too far. You don't want to unfollow them, you just don't want to see so many posts.

The menu is different with different types of post. Here is a post from someone in a group I follow.

 Facebook news feed

In this case I can hide posts from David and it is a very useful feature. There may be one or two irritating people in a group who are causing problems. You can hide that person so you never see their posts again, but you can continue to follow the group and see posts from everyone else. Use it to hide spammers and argumentative people that irritate you. (Don't worry David, I've not hidden you.)

I could show you more, such as the menu you get with a friend, or a friend that comment on one of their friends - a friend of a friend. You can hide the friend of a friend without hiding the friend, or you can hide a friend without actually unfriending them. You remain friends, but don't see their posts.

Keep using that menu and after a week or so, your news feed will begin to look much cleaner, simpler and more interesting, with less time-wasting posts that you don't want.

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