While the actual Friend Lists themselves aren’t changing, Facebook users can no longer have a news feed dedicated to just the friends on that list. Facebook calls the feature a “lesser-used” tool and said the shut down will let the company focus on improving the main news feed.
Hidden inside the menu on the Facebook App, Friend List Feeds allowed users to view only the posts from a specific group. Facebook automatically creates smart lists based on the information in your profile, like grouping people that list the same place of employment, and also lets you create your own lists. The list feeds were a sparse version of the news feed, containing only posts from those friends instead of all followed friends and Pages.
Facebook says the feature wasn’t very popular — features tucked inside Facebook’s menu and out of the usual news feed likely see less use on the platform. Friends lists will still be used for privacy settings, so you can choose to share something only with family or just among co-workers.
Facebook doesn’t have a very strong track record with creating separate news feeds — people tend to favor that traditional scrolling feed that collects everything in one spot. Earlier this year, the network abandoned a test that put friends and Pages in separate feeds. (Snapchat’s new design has a similar split, but the network says the change hasn’t changed the amount of time users spend on the platform and views on public Stories have increased.) The real-time feed without the algorithm, the ticker, was discontinued last year.
While the change eliminates separate friend feeds, a number of recent updates help users create a more custom experience in the news feed. New snooze features let users temporarily mute friends as well as keywords.
This year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his goal was to improve meaningful interaction on the platform and decrease passive consumption. A new feature shared last week will track how much time fans spend on the platform, allowing them to set alerts after so much time has passed.