Hide Friends on Facebook to Avoid Seeing Posts You Don't Like

Hide Friends on Facebook to Clean Up Your News Feed -- and Your Facebook Life

Hide friends on Facebook menu
Hide friends on Facebook menu, using subscribe tools. © Facebook

Hiding friends on Facebook is a skill worth learning because it can reduce the volume of status updates you get from people you don't find very interesting.

You could, of course, simply unfriend anyone whose status updates you find boring or annoying. That's a sure-fire way of blocking their unwanted status updates.

Often, though, it's better to hide friends on Facebook, which really means hiding what they write so it doesn't show up in your news feed. That way, you don't risk offending them or have to totally disconnect. They will still be there on your friend list, in case you ever do want to contact them -- or they want to send you a quick message.

Facebook no longer uses "hide" in its actual menu language, but you can still "hide" friends. It's just that the menu functions got relabeled after the big 2011 Facebook redesign. Also, "block friends" has multiple meanings, so we will use "hide" and not "block," even though the functions of hiding or blocking your friends' status updates are one and the same.

Think of hiding Facebook friends as a time-saving, Facebook-enhancing process.

How Do You Hide a Facebook Friend?

There are multiple ways to do it. First, you can scroll through your news feed and click on individual status updates to edit how often stuff sent by that particular person will get shown in your feed. You use the drop-down menu shown in the image above.

Or you can do the same thing by going to each friend's profile page, where you'll find an even more detailed menu.

Or you can create friends lists and make a setting for the whole list. You just create a new list, give it any name you want, and add people to it whose updates don't much interest you, then change the list settings.Facebook gives you a blank "acquaintances" list that can handily serve this purpose.

Ok, that's the overview. (If you're still a bit confused about the basics of Facebook, this guide on how to use the Facebook news feed and wall can help.) Now let's learn the details of managing friends.

How to Hide Friends on Facebook by Scrolling Through Your News Feed

Hide Facebook Friends Menu
This is the menu allowing you to "hide" Facebook friends or "unsubscribe" to their updates -- without unfriending them. It got a major redesign in 2011. © Facebook

One good way to hide friends on Facebook is to go through your news feed and selectively use the Facebook "unsubscribe" button.

First, start culling through your feed and find someone whose updates you want to hide. Then click on the little down arrow to the far right of their status update. You'll see a drop-down menu like the image shown above.

The menu is a bit complicated. The top part allows you to hide that particular update or report it as spam. That's not what you want.

The middle and bottom part of the menu is where you will focus. The middle part controls the volume or quantity of updates that you see from the person. The bottom "unsubscribe" options allow you to hide all of their status updates and activity updates, or hide all of their status updates.

Middle Part of Menu: the Volume Control

For volume, you have three main choices in the drop-down menu governing how much you'll see from this person. The choices you'll be presented with if they're your friend and you're subscribed to them are:

  • All updates
  • Most updates
  • Only important

By default, Facebook sets the subscribe button to "most updates" for your friends, because it assumes that you want to see most of what they write in your news feed. That's the medium option on the volume of updates you want to receive from that person.

But you can easily dial it back to have only the "most important" updates from any or all of your friends show up in your news feed. "Most important" would mean you would see only the updates they send that are getting a lot of response from other friends. Or you could dial it up for your close friends by saying you want to see "all updates" from them.

Just click the option you want.

Second Part of Menu: Unsubscribe Options

The options at the bottom of the drop-down menu govern the unsubscribe feature on Facebook.

You can unsubscribe from the person completely, which means you won't see any of their status updates in your news feed OR any of their activity updates in your ticker. That option is labeled "Unsubscribe from SoandSo," with their first name replacing "Soandso."

Activity updates are actions your friends take on Facebook; they show up in your ticker, that sidebar of real-time info that scrolls in a tiny window on the right side of your Facebook page.

So Facebook gives you a choice here of whether you want to unsubscribe from either or both update types--status or activity.

If you don't want any status updates from your friend in your main news feed, but do want their activities included in your ticker, you'd click the item saying "unsubscribe from status updates from SoandSo."

Alternatively, you could say you don't want to see their activity updates by clicking "Unsubscribe to activity stories by SoandSo."

To hide both, click "unsubscribe to SoandSo."

This menu of unsubscribing options confuses many people and no wonder. There is little help available on site for deciphering the terms and functions. Compounding the confusion is the fact that the two primary unsubscribe options (for updates and activities) don't both show in the pulldown menu all the time.

If it's a status update that you're editing in your news feed, for example, then "unsubscribe to status updates" usually shows. But if it's an activity update, then that option--"unsubscribe to activity stories"-- is presented.

The "unsubscribe to Soandso," which hides both types of updates, appears most of the time.

Unsubscribe Does Not Mean Unfriend

Keep in mind, though, to unsubscribe from your friend does not mean you are defriending or unfriending them, it just means you won't see their status updates in your news feed.

Hide Your Friends From Their Timeline or Profile Page

Click "Friends" on someone's Facebook Timeline page to access this menu.
Click "Friends" on someone's Facebook Timeline page to access this menu. © Facebook

Going directly to a friend's profile page is another good way to manage the amount of material from them you'd like to see in your news feed and ticker.

On their profile page or timeline, click the "FRIENDS" button at the top to activate your menu of controls. You'll see a drop-down menu like the one shown above. It lists some of the same options you see when you click the arrow beside one of your friend's posts in your news feed.

The picture above shows the version of the friends-editing menu that you see when you click the FRIENDS button on the Timeline/Profile page.

Show in News Feed Option

A key option near the bottom is called "Show in News Feed." It lets you decide whether you want anything from this person in your main news feed of updates. Check or uncheck it to change the setting.

At the top of the menu are your friend lists, which are another powerful way to manage what you see from each of them. You can check a list name to add or delete a friend from it. (Read this article to learn more about how to create and manage a Facebook friends list. And if you haven't adjusted your new privacy settings yet, read these explainers on how to make Facebook private, and more secure.)

Click "Settings" To See More

Facebook also gives you a lot more granular control over exactly what kind of updates you want to see from your friends. To see all of the options, click the "Settings" button in the drop-down menu (as shown in the image above.) On the next page, we'll show how these extra settings work.

When Hiding Friends, You Can Choose Which Activities to Hide

Facebook hide friends menu
This menu controls what type of content you want to see from each friend. Facebook resigned it completely in 2011. © Facebook

Choose Which Activities to Hide: What Type?

If you click "SETTINGS" in the drop-down menu under the FRIENDS button on anyone's Timeline page, you'll see additional options in a new drop-down menu. The picture above shows what you'll see AFTER you click "settings."

The options listed first specify whether you want to see all, most or only important updates from the person. As previously discussed, these set the volume of updates that you'll get from them.

This menu also shows you specific types of updates and related activities by category. For this person, you can subscribe or unsubscribe to each of these types of content, simply by checking it on the list. The categories include:

  • Life Events
  • Status Updates
  • Photos
  • Games
  • Comments and Likes
  • Music and Video
  • Other Activities

Facebook maintains a help page on managing news feeds, and it explains how to hide and unhide friends.

Is Unfriending Easier?

You may be thinking it's a lot easier to unfriend someone than hiding them on Facebook. Technically, it is. And there's a lot of debate over Facebook addiction and the value of a Facebook friendship -- whether it's even worth it to maintain all those electronic connections.

But there are lots of benefits to Facebook friends, as well as downsides.

But on balance, there should be no harm in staying connected to your many acquaintances as well as your friends on Facebook, if you can just learn to manage them more smartly.