How To Pick & Choose The Facebook Updates You Actually Want To See (And Avoid The Pro-Confederate Flag Rants You Don't)

A man shows the smartphone photo sharing application Instagram on an Iphone on April 10, 2012 in Paris, one day after Facebook announced a billion-dollar-deal to buy the startup behind Instagram. The free mini-program lets people give classic looks to square photos using 'filters' and then share them at Twitter, Facebook or other social networks. AFP PHOTO THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

If you come from a state where a lot of your friends or family post embarrassing or politically backwards things in their Facebook News Feeds, then you'll be thrilled to know you no longer have to see their posts. Facebook users can now customize their News Feeds in a new section called "News Feed Preferences" — unfortunately, the update is only available in the Facebook iOS app right now, so you'll still have to put up with those Confederate flag defenders if you're accessing Facebook from a laptop.

You can access News Feed Preferences by going to the More section, which is located in the bottom right-hand corner of the Facebook iOS app. From there, you can go to Settings and then News Feed Preferences. Then, will see four subsections: prioritize who to see first, unfollow people to hide their posts, reconnect with people you unfollowed, and discover new Pages.

In a post on Facebook's website, Product Manager Jacob Frantz said the update sought to allow people to make their Facebook experience even more personal: "We know that ultimately you’re the only one who truly knows what is most meaningful to you and that is why we want to give you more ways to control what you see," Frantz wrote. The biggest update is the section "prioritize who you see first," which will allow users to make sure they don't miss posts from important friends or Pages that they enjoy.

To use the prioritization feature, go to News Feed Preferences and click Prioritize who you see first. Then you can tap on a friend's profile picture if you'd like to see their posts first.

Then, when you get on Facebook, you will see anything they have shared since you last used Facebook, and the posts will have a star next to them to indicate that they were prioritized. Once you scroll past the prioritized stories, then you will see your News Feed as it normally appears.

The other two subsections after prioritization were available before the update: unfollow people to hide their posts and reconnect with people you unfollowed. But the app allows you to do this with a number of profiles at once, rather than going through your News Feed and unfollowing people whenever you remember to or whenever you were particularly disturbed by one of their posts. Under Unfollow people or hide their posts, you will see a list of the top people, pages, and groups that have popped up in your News Feed over the past week. You can choose to unfollow and of them and then reconnect with them later through the reconnect subsection.

Discover new Pages, the last subsection of the News Feed Preferences update, functions like the first three. You can click on it, and it will show you Pages that are similar to the ones you already follow. Finding new pages to follow "can help you connect with publishers, artists, and businesses you might be interested in," according to Facebook's post about the update.

Though the rest of your News Feed will still show advertisements and certain news stories because of the algorithm within "Facebook's hyper-intelligent artificial brain," as Wired calls it, this update will allow you slightly more control. Hopefully it will expand to all of Facebook soon, so that maybe you can make your entire News Feed — on a laptop or an iPhone — exclusively cute photos of your friends' puppies and kittens (only in an ideal world).

Images: Facebook (4)

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