Facebook may have started out as a social network for college students, but a lot has changed since it originally launched back in 2004. Each year, Facebook rolls out new features and settings hoping they'll improve the user experience.
Still, for many Facebook users, the social media platform is a cause of headaches. You might be one of them. After scrolling through numerous posts in your News Feed, do you find that you're more frustrated than when you first logged in?
This frustration can be caused by numerous things including oversharing, political posts, annoying messages and even just not understanding some of Facebook's key features.
Don't worry. You don't need to be a Facebook pro to get more from the social network. Follow these tips to reduce clutter and improve how Facebook functions.
1. See what you want to see
To make Facebook better, one of the first things you need to do is tell it exactly what you'd like to see. You can do this through normal use by only Liking and Sharing things you're truly interested in. But there's also a way to tell Facebook specifically that you'd like to see more posts from a particular page or person.
Setting this feature up is simple. Go to the Settings menu in the Facebook Mobile app. Tap, "News Feed Preferences."
Next, tap "Prioritize who to see first." You can then mark certain profiles with little stars to tell Facebook that you'd like to see content from them.
Psst... Like Kim's page on Facebook and be sure to use this trick so that you don't miss any of the important content shared there such as security alerts, helpful tips, behind-the-scenes clips from the show, giveaways and more. Here's how you can set up your preferences in the Facebook site itself.
Click the upside-down arrow in the top right-hand corner of the screen, then click, "News Feed Preferences." From there, use the drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner to narrow the list down to "Friends" or "Pages." Finally, select the friends and pages to which you'd like to give priority.
2. Eliminate what you don't want to see
If you'd like to cut the clutter from your News Feed, a free browser extension called Social Fixer is a good place to start. Tired of sponsored posts (aka ads)? How about annoying posts about politics? Social Fixer has filters that will weed all of these things out. But that's not all it can do.
Another perk of Social Mixer is that you can hide the most distracting parts of the Facebook page. All of those links to the left and tiles to the right just get in the way, so why not tuck them out of sight? And, to clean your feed up even further, there's a setting that will automatically hide posts after you've read them.
You can also add filters to your News Feed to hide stories about a particular keyword, author or application. Your News Feed can even be organized into different tabs so that certain content categories will be grouped together.
3. Hide yourself from Facebook Chat
For those of you who enjoy your privacy, this is an essential tip. Although you may not use Facebook Chat all that often, it lets your friends know whenever you're "available." Essentially, the chat feature recognizes that you're online and using Facebook, so each of your friends who are online at the same time could see that you're available.
To turn this feature off, you'll need a Google Chrome extension called Ghost for Chat. This app lets you use Facebook as you normally would without allowing your contacts to see that you're online.
Bonus: Block annoying people without getting caught
Let's be honest: We all have one or two (or maybe more) friends that we don't want knowing our business. But no one wants to deal with the drama of "Unfriending" people. And there's a serious stigma that's tied to the act of Blocking someone altogether.
The good news is you don't have to officially "Block" someone to prevent them from seeing your posts. All you have to do is add them to your Restricted List. This list prevents your content from showing up in the News Feed of the people you've "blocked," unless you've either tagged them or made the post itself public.
For step-by-step instructions on adding someone to your Restricted List, press play to watch the video below.
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If all else fails and you find that you're still unhappy with Facebook, you may just want to delete your account altogether. Click here for step-by-step instructions to shut down your Facebook account for good.