What Is The Facebook “Hide From Your Timeline” Feature? Here's What We Know About It So Far

On Thursday, the internet was abuzz with a new feature currently being tested by Facebook that might change the way we post our statuses in a big, big way. But what is the Facebook “Hide From Your Timeline” feature, exactly? It’s basically an extension of the “Hide From Your Timeline” feature that already exists — it’s just taking the whole thing to the next level by allowing you to post statuses directly to the News Feed, skipping your Timeline completely. Here’s the lowdown on what we know so far.

To be fair, “what we know so far” isn’t a lot; however, the feature seems like it’s pretty easy to understand. “The Timeline on your profile is a great place to see a comprehensive history of your Facebook posts,” a Facebook spokesperson tells Bustle via email. “We’ve heard feedback that sometimes, you may want to share a post with friends and family via News Feed and not have that post be displayed on your Timeline. The ability to hide a post from your Timeline already exists, and today we’re testing a feature that would make it even easier to control where your posts live by giving you the option to publish a post only to News Feed and not to your Timeline.” Neat, right?

So, here’s the sum total of our knowledge so far:

What Is It?

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The new "Hide From Your Timeline" feature that's currently being tested does pretty much exactly what it says it does — that is, it hides a status from your Timeline. This means that anything you post using the new “Hide From Your Timeline” feature will appear only in the News Feed, and not directly on your profile page. Statuses you post using this feature will, however, still be visible in search results. Just, y’know, something to keep in mind.

How Does It Work?

It’s actually pretty simple; all you have to do to make the magic happen is check a box in the “Post Status” field that says “Hide From Your Timeline.” The tweet seen here illustrates what it looks like, and it’s pretty easy to get a feel for how it works from just those images.

What Makes It Different From The Current “Hide From Your Timeline” Feature?

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(Get it? The cat is hiding? From your Timeline? ...I'll show myself out.)

The original “Hide From Your Timeline” debuted roughly when the Timeline did; basically, once something has been posted to your Timeline, you can click the arrow in the upper right hand corner of the post, scroll down, and select “Hide from Timeline” to make it vanish from your Timeline. Like so:

The new feature takes the older one a step further by letting you launch something directly into the News Feed and keep it off your Timeline right when you post it. With both versions of the feature, the stories it’s been applied to will still be visible in other places on Facebook (like search, which I mentioned earlier).

Hey, This Sounds Kind Of Familiar…

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...And you’re not the only who’s thinking that thought, either. Some folks are comparing it to Twitter, with the “go directly to News Feed, do not pass Go, do not collect $200” kind of status acting similarly to the way tweets do; meanwhile, others think it’s a little more like Snapchat, with the nature of the new "Hide From Your Timeline" feature causing statuses to “disappear” in a way not unlike Snapchat’s timed images do. (Although it’s worth noting that unlike Snapchat, there’s no timer attached to Facebook status updates; also, once Snapchat images are gone, they're gone, which is not the case with Facebook.)

Personally, I’m inclined to think it’s a little closer to Twitter than Snapchat — but I actually think it’s its own thing, too: I think of it as a shortcut. Previously, if you wanted to post something to your News Feed but not to your Timeline, you’d have to post it as usual, go to your profile page, find that post, and hide it from your Timeline; with the new feature, though, all you’ll have to do is check a box while you’re writing the status up in the first place — no additional steps required.

When Will It Get Here?

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Alas, we do not know. It’s being tested right now, so a small percentage of users have access to it; the rest of us will just have to wait until Facebook has more news for us. Fingers crossed, am I right?

Images: Giphy (4); Lucia Peters/Bustle