Facebook has announced that it’s shutting down its Friend List feeds, with the option to disappear from the app sometime this week.
Not sure what ‘Friend List feeds’ are?
Facebook launched Friend Lists back in 2011 as a way to “organize your friends on Facebook”.
As you can see here, the option was one of the many sidebar choices - through specific Friends Lists, you could filter the stories you’d see in your News Feed, or post an update only for specific people.
And you didn’t even have to build your own - Facebook also added in automatically populated Friends Lists for you, based on ‘Close Friends’ or ‘Acquaintances’. You could also add a ‘Restricted’ list for people you’d added as a friend but didn’t want to share with (like, Facebook says, your boss).
But as you might have thought as you read through these examples, you can pretty much do all of this without having to click through to another section – these days, wider understanding of ‘unfollowing’ and News Feed algorithm changes have largely rendered Friend Lists obsolete.
In fact, no one really used them when they were launched – according to TechCrunch, back in 2011, shortly after the initial release, Facebook reported that 95% of users hadn’t bothered to make a list. The idea may have been inspired, in some ways, by Twitter’s lists, but even those have become less valuable as users become more accustomed to simply unfollowing, with vanity metrics becoming less of a consideration.
So, now Friend Lists will be going away. You probably won’t even notice, but it is another Facebook option gone, and some had seen this as a way to get around algorithm restrictions and see more content from their contacts.
If that’s you, time to find another solution.
Facebook does note, however, that:
“While people won’t be able to view custom feeds from lists of friends, they’ll still be able to create and edit friends lists, and share just to these audiences whenever they post to Facebook. In addition to these options, they can also keep customizing News Feed by visiting News Feed preferences to choose which posts they want to see first, or hide posts they don’t want to see.”
Those considerations may be enough.