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Get started with Facebook's revamped News Feed

Facebook's redesigned News Feed features some noteworthy changes and settings. Get to know these features as you settle into the new design.

Now playing: Watch this: Navigate Facebook's new News Feed

Though it's fully expected that Facebook will make many changes to its just-launched News Feed, it's never too early to get acquainted with the look. Luckily, it's not quite as drastic as previous redesigns (like the much-hated Timeline) but it does present some new ways to interact with friends, brands, and people you follow.

If you haven't yet signed up to get the new News Feed, get on the wait list now. Facebook says it will roll out the new design slowly to allow enough time to fix bugs and make improvements before releasing it to the masses.

Until then, get to know some of the standout features of the revamped News Feed.

Topical feeds

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

For the most part, the previous News Feed lets you navigate stories in only two ways: "most recent" and "top stories." Now there are literally dozens of ways to view the latest stories from friends and people you follow. By default, you'll see the "News Feed" when you sign in, but on the far right, you can choose from more primary feeds like:

  • All Friends. Here's where you'll see everything your friends are sharing. Status updates, check-ins, music listening, and more all appear here. You won't see brands or celebs here -- this is a feed dedicated to the people you're actually friends with (at least on Facebook.)
  • Photos. No links, no statuses -- this feed displays only photos from friends and pages you follow. On the right, you'll see a sidebar with stories about new profile pictures and cover photos, and below that, Facebook will nag you to add more information about albums and photos you've uploaded.
  • Music. Through apps like Spotify and pages you've liked, Facebook seems to have a pretty good idea about what kind of music you're into. This feed shows posts exclusively related to music your friends are listening to, and artists you like. And don't miss the sidebar on the right -- it's filled with useful information like upcoming concerts, top songs from your network, and new album releases.
  • Following. Watch out, Twitter, Facebook's got its own follow culture now. In the Following feed, you won't see updates from friends -- this feed is filled with posts from people and brands you follow.

Those are just a handful of the feeds to choose from -- if you click "See all," you'll discover even more feeds based on lists you've created. You can add or remove these feeds by editing your lists.

If you'd like one of the above feeds to be your default, there's no setting to change that, but there is a dead-simple workaround: navigate to an alternate feed, like All Friends, and bookmark that page. It's not ideal, but it should tide you over until Facebook offers its own solution.

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

One topic, many voices

The redesigned feed comes closest to eliminating some of the clutter that has recently made Facebook an eyesore. One of the ways it manages this is by consolidating many posts about one story and collapsing them into one post.

For example, instead of seeing three posts from friends sharing the same link, you'll see one. Or, if you subscribe to a list (like Tech News, below), you'll see one main story from that list, and the ability to navigate to others by selecting from the thumbnails on the left.

Friend management options

Most likely, the redesigned feed will make you realize you should prune your Facebook "friends." Unlike the Top News feed from the previous iteration, niche feeds like All Friends and Photos show posts from all your friends, not just people Facebook thinks you're interested in.

There are several ways to see fewer posts from a friend. Within any feed, hover over your friend's name. Then, hover over the "Friends" button on the box that shows up. Here, you can uncheck "Show in News Feed," or unfriend them entirely.

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

Another option is to hide a specific post, like an inappropriate or otherwise annoying photo that keeps appearing in your feeds. Just hover over the upper-right corner of any post, and select hide. In theory, this should prevent that post from showing up in all the feeds, but (at least for me), that doesn't seem to be working.

New settings

For the first time ever, it's probably safe to say that Facebook's announcement didn't scare its users with privacy concerns. Though no privacy settings have changed, there are a couple of options to look out for in the new design.

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

Switch to Old Design. If at any point you decide that the new News Feed is too glitchy, too much information, or otherwise undesirable, you can switch back to the old design. Just click on the arrow in the upper-right corner of any page, and select "Switch to Old Design."

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

Most likely, this option will continue to be available while the new design is in beta, but will eventually disappear.

Privacy Settings. A few months ago, Facebook introduced more simplified privacy options. These options haven't changed, but they're no longer accessed alongside your notifications. You can now access your privacy settings from the left sidebar, right next to your name.