For better or worse, the News Feed has become the lens through which all of us view Facebook. The News Feed is where everything gets lumped together, from news stories to updates from friends to funny and heartwarming videos to memes and conspiracy theories. It’s an imperfect feature, to say the least, but while it may be beyond repair at this point in the social media network’s life cycle, Facebook is going to try to fix it.
On Wednesday, Facebook announced a series of changes and improvements that are rolling out to the News Feed to give users more control over what they see and who can interact with them.
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Starting today, Facebook is introducing a new tool that allows users to decide who can comment on their public posts. On Facebook’s website, tap the button in the top right, then go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Public Posts, and you should see the section “Who Can Follow Me.” From here, you can choose to allow anyone who sees them to comment on your posts, or to restrict commenting to just your Facebook friends. Below that, you will see “Public Post Comments,” and from there, you can decide who can comment on your public posts.
Getting even more granular, you can also change who can comment on individual public posts by clicking on the post, clicking on Who can comment on your post?, and selecting between Public, Friends, and Profiles and Pages you mention. Profiles and pages that aren’t selected won’t see the comment button.
“By adjusting your commenting audience, you can further control how you want to invite conversation onto your public posts and limit potentially unwanted interactions,” Facebook explains in a new newsroom post. “And if you’re a public figure, creator or brand, you too can choose to limit your commenting audience on your public posts to help you feel safe and engage in more meaningful conversations with your community.”
Facebook is also giving you more control over what you see on your News Feed with the Feed Filter Bar. This menu at the top of the News Feed offers easy access to Favorites (which ranks 30 friends and pages you select higher than other content) and Most Recent (which pushes the latest posts to the top of your feed). Android users can access the Feed Filter Bar now by scrolling up on their News Feed, but iOS users will have to wait.
Finally, for those of you who are unsure about why random posts are appearing in your News Feed from pages or people you don’t follow, Facebook is trying to demystify this process. As of today, Facebook will be providing more context around the content that it suggests by expanding the “Why am I seeing this?” feature. You can’t get rid of them altogether, but at least you’ll know why Facebook wanted you to see them.