Facebook, the social network used by, oh, a few billion people, is making a change to its iconic news feed. Instead of being dominated by a mix of links from friends and news stories from pages you like, you'll be seeing a lot more posts from your family and friends in an effort to strengthen personal connections with your social network and ensure the time spent on Facebook is "time well spent". For obvious reasons, many publishers and news organisations are quietly freaking out about what this means for Facebook-driven traffic. But as far as your own preferences, if you still love getting news from your, uh, news feed, and want to keep seeing stories from the sites you follow, you can hold onto that by editing a few preferences.
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What's Changing in Your Feed
In short, expect to see more pictures of family barbecues and embarrassing updates about your nephews, and fewer links to stories from wherever you get your news. The change is almost guaranteed to cut down the amount of time people spend on Facebook, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself, though he does expect the time you do spend on the platform to be "more valuable". To Zuckerberg, that value is in the form of promoting more meaningful bonds between individuals and groups rather than engagement with brands and businesses.
In short, Facebook's changes are great if you love getting updates from your family and friends, ostensibly the reason you're on the "social" network in the first place. But if you can't get enough tips and tricks from us (or whichever site you love to read), or like to do a quick pass of your feed to see what major news stories are circulating, you can ensure you get the updates from the pages you love the most while also keeping up with your uncle in Melbourne.
How to Modify Which Pages You See First
On Facebook, select the News Feed icon, then select Edit Preferences. You'll see Facebook's Preferences page, where you can prioritise or hide updates from pages and friends. Select the "Prioritize who to see first" option, then select the pages and friends you most want to see. Now you'll see the pages you've chosen first, with a small star next to them, above a news feed-generated selection of recent posts from your social network. You can, at the same time, hide updates from pages and friends you'd rather not have polluting your news feed.
You'll still see links if they're shared from your friends, of course. But if you're using Facebook as a place to stay up to date on current events, you might want to try getting your news from a more up to date source, such as an RSS feed, or news app like Feedly. Also, let's be real. You shouldn't just get your news from Facebook. We already know how that turns out.