By Tracey Dowdy
You may have missed it, but back in September, Facebook added Snooze – a feature that enables you to temporarily unfollow specific friends, Pages or Groups for up to 30 days. It’s currently still in its testing phase, but the goal is to eventually add options to Snooze for 7 days or as little as 24 hours.
Basically, Snooze gives you greater control over what appears in your feed and spares you the awkwardness of Unfollowing or Blocking Friends. So now, when a not really close Friend or very opinionated auntie launches their new business, has a baby, invites you to a recipe thread, constantly posts spoilers about Game of Thrones or This Is Us, won’t stop posting pictures of the beach while you’re stuck in the office, or keeps creating drama with politically charged posts, you can hit that Snooze button and feel a welcome sense of relief.
The size of your friend group pays off in actual profit for Facebook – it’s all tied to marketing – and so the greater the size of your network, the greater the profit for advertisers. Think about how your friend’s “likes” get turned into subtle ads for companies – “Tracey Likes Cooking Light” or “Tracey like Old Navy.”
To activate Snooze, click on the three dots that bring up the drop-down arrow in the top right of someone’s post and select “Snooze for 30 days.” A spokesman for Facebook said, “We’re testing new ways to give people control over their News Feeds so they can stay connected with the stories they find most relevant.”
Offering users the option to sift through the “noise” in their feed isn’t new. Facebook allowed us to “See Less” back in 2012 and followed that up with the “Unfollow” option in 2014. But, many users found “See Less” confusing and “Unfollow” completely restricted the selected friend from your feed. By implementing Snooze, Facebook maintains that larger marketing pool yet allows you to clean up your newsfeed, so in theory, we all win.
Facebook hopes that by offering a temporary solution, Groups and Pages will be more mindful of spamming members. The complex algorithms that determine what appears in your newsfeed based on your Likes, comments and shares will still curate that content, but it’s nice for us to have more say in what we see.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.