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Use Facebook’s 'Why am I seeing this post?' feature to tame your newsfeed

We all have those Facebook friends we'd rather not see posts from.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Have you ever opened the Facebook app only to keep seeing an annoying friends' posts keep showing up first, and wonder why? There hasn't been an easy way to figure it out, until now. 

Recently, Facebook announced the expansion of its "Why am I seeing this ad?" feature to include posts from your friends. Previously, Facebook only detailed why you were seeing an ad. Facebook's newfound approach to being more transparent was echoed this week at F8, the company's annual developer conference. 

The feature is slowly rolling out to all Facebook users, with the company's expectation that all users should have it by the middle of May.

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Learn the why

facebook-why-am-i-seeing-this-post

Facebook is being more transparent about why your newsfeed looks the way it does. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Select the three-dot icon in the top-right corner of a post and tap or click on Why am I seeing this post? A popup will provide the reasoning, be it that you have frequently liked posts with photos from that specific friend, or that you've clicked on links the person has shared in the past.

I've looked at this information for at least a dozen posts from friends, and the reasoning varies for each friend and post type. I frequently click on links shared by friends, so Facebook prioritizes those posts from friends, instead of a post that contains only text.

Facebook pulls back the curtain a bit on ad targeting. Yes, it's creepy. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

You can view the same information about ads that are appearing in your feed using the same method outlined above, but selecting Why am I seeing this ad? from the drop-down menu. When viewing ads in my feed, I learned reasons I've been targeted include my location, age, gender, an interest, keyword, or because I've visited that company's website.

Take action

There are a couple of things you can do to ensure you don't keep seeing those annoying posts from a friend. 

unfollow-facebook-page-or-friend

Unfollow a page or friend and they won't ever know. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Facebook provides two different options to manage your news feed. You can unfollow a person, without unfriending them, under the Manage What you See in News Feed section of the "Why am I seeing this post?" popup. Tap on the friend's name, then choose from Unfollow. Again, unfollowing leaves your friendship in place, and the person won't be alerted that you've unfollowed them. 

facebook-snooze-page-of-friend

Sometimes you just need a break. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Alternatively, if you just need a break from someone, you can snooze them. Snoozing a friend will remove their posts from your feed for 30 days. They won't know they've been snoozed. To snooze a friend, tap on the three-dot icon in the top-right corner of one of their posts, then tap Snooze. As you can see in the screenshots above, you can also unfollow a page or friend from this same menu. 

hide-facebook-ads

Hide ads from a company with just a few taps. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When it comes to ads, you can essentially block ads from specific companies, or remove interests and keywords that trigger ads from your profile. When on the "Why am I seeing this ad?" screen, tap or click on the highlighted text in blue and then select hide or remove.