Facebook Officially Announces Automatic Smart Lists
Last week we reported that Facebook was testing a new feature that would automatically categorize your friends into one of three organized lists. Starting Wednesday the social network will officially begin rolling out Smart Lists – a tool that will help organize News Feeds – to everyone with a Facebook account.
Smart Lists will automatically generate three lists, taking the headache out of sorting and categorizing your friends. The lists include one for your coworkers, one for people you attended school with, and one for friends who live within the same city as you.
You will always be able to remove someone that Facebook has automatically added to a list. You’ll also be able to create your own lists and add friends, and the site will automatically suggest additional friends that it believes belong in the same list. The option of turning off Smart Lists altogether is also available.
In addition to the three list suggestions Facebook has added two other Friend Lists: Close Friends and Acquaintances. These are not Smart Lists and therefore will not automatically update. If you add a friend to Close Friends that person’s status updates will appear more prominently in your News Feed. Adding a friend to Acquaintances means that you will only see the most important updates from them – engagements, new jobs, and so on.
“The end goal is to help people to be selective about who they share with. I don’t have to share every bit of information with all of my friends,” explains Blake Ross, a Facebook product manager.
Once the lists are created you’ll be able to selectively share content with certain lists and change permission settings on your profile for each list. Also, these lists will be accessible in the left column of the homepage. Clicking on one will display that News Feed. Anyone using Google+ will be familiar with this type of filtering. And though it might seem like this update is meant to compete with Google+, Ross — who believes that no one has done friend grouping right — says that his team has been working on this for the last four years.
Facebook plans on rolling out these features starting tomorrow and throughout the next two weeks.