Earlier this week we heard that Facebook was going to make a big push encouraging users to utilize its Lists application. So intent is Facebook on promoting these privacy-enabling features that it’s also introducing auto lists to segment your contacts into pre-set groups to help you share more discreetly.
Facebook hits one thing on the head with this reveal: Up until now, its Lists tool has been anything but simple to use. Scrolling through the seemingly endless number of people we call Facebook Friends is a chore and one users would rather forego, throwing caution and Status Updates to the wind. Now, you will have automatically generated lists as well self-created ones.
Like we previously reported, Smart lists will create groups of people from your work, school, family, or city based on information listed on their profile. You will be responsible for your Close Friends and Acquaintances lists – as well as your Restricted lists, which obviously is for especially limited Facebook contact. Facebook says people on this list will only see your Public posts, and those dubbed Acquaintances will show up less in your News Feed. “We’ll still show you important things they post – like when they get married or move to a new city,” Facebook reassures.
Updating and adding to these self-curated lists will become easier too, as Facebook will prompt you to assign contacts to lists when you originally add them as a Friend.
Here’s one thing that’s important to know: Your contacts will be able to know they are on a list of some sort. No one can see what list they are on, but Facebook warns that “the people on the list you’ve shared with will be able to see each others’ names.” So if I update my status and share it with my “Cousins” only, they will see the note was passed around to all of them.
Also interesting is the fact that each of your lists will have its own News Feed – yes, just like the individual streams for your respective Circles in Google+. This would cut down on how overwhelming the News Feed has become, and let users get a better look at what’s going on, but we’re also certain there will be complaints. And to that end, Facebook has stressed that the entire Lists feature is optional.
Google+ comparisons aside, the fine-tune Facebook is giving Lists is necessary and for highly-active users will help with News Feed overload. The fact that the site is also giving you recommended lists is something the Circles originator hasn’t done yet either, so Facebook gets points for innovating – even if it took heavy cues from someone else’s idea. The feature will roll out this week and hit mobile soon after.
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