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Has your News feed become junk since the last update? Here’s how to fix it and ensure you don’t miss any more of your favorite peeps’ latest news!

Amongst the big changes Facebook made recently was to how it delivers your News. Nobody really knows how Facebook News works – it’s as mysterious as Google’s search formulas. But it can be managed, or at least enticed, to show you more of the stuff you like, and less of the stuff you don’t like. That’s important because if you’re like me, you’ve suddenly stopped seeing a lot of important stuff from your favorite friends. And been scrolling through too much stuff from your casual connections.

Improving your News feed comes down to how you manage your friends. On Facebook, that means how you separate them into “lists” (in normal human-speak, that means “groups” of friends). Using lists isn’t new; but Facebook added new “master” lists which directly affect what you see in your news. Even if you’ve already divided your friends into different lists, you’ll likely need to do it again. Here’s why.

The two major lists that affect the News in Facebook are “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances.” All other lists act as “filters” which you can apply to the News. But Close Friends and Acquaintances filter the news automatically. Unfortunately, Close Friends and Acquaintances aren’t “smart” lists  – like Family or City lists which auto populate themselves based upon your friend’s profiles.

You have to populate Close Friends and Acquaintances manually.

In Facebook terms, Close Friends are people you care “more” about. Acquaintances are people you want to connect with, but hear “less” from. Add someone to Acquaintances to reduce their news; add them to Close Friends to see more of it.

The good news is that the News starts clearing up immediately.

Doing it the hard way

The “hard way” is to go to the News Page, hove the mouse nar the Lists section and click More when it appears. Click the list “Acquaintances” and then click Manage Lists in the upper right. Select Add/Remove Friends, which launches a dialog box that will load up all of your friends (be patient). Click and scroll through  friends to add them en masse to the list.

Yeah, not really fun.

Doing it the easy way

So here’s how I did it relatively fast and painless, while watching TV the other night: I went to the Acquaintances page, and looked at the right side column. The List Suggestions section on the right side shows you friends. Click “Add” to move through the list quickly. Click “X” to skip anyone you don’t want to add to this list (such as someone you want to put on Close Friends instead).

Facebook keeps scrolling the list so you can tap Add fast and furiously. Scan the list, click, and sort dozens of people in minutes. Periodically, Facebook runs out of people on the list, but you can click “See More Suggestions” to refill the list. Continue on until done.

But wait! You need to repeat the process again, this time for your “Close Friends” list, to get “more” of the updates you want into your News stream. 

Yes, it’s tedious. But it’s worth it. Once you separate your contacts into the right lists, the News will make sense again. You won’t have to “filter” the page every time. That’s good news for smartphone users, where filtering is tedious (and sometimes impossible) on the small screen.

So, pour yourself a venti and stretch out your mouse finger. It might take a few thousand clicks, but if you’re using the News to keep up on important friends – not to mention business leads – you’ll need to sort your friends into the right lists, to return some sense to your stream of opportunities.