30 October 2012

Facebook Interest Lists

Have you noticed your Facebook News Feed has been looking a bit emptier than usual?  Are updates from some of your friends and Facebook Pages that you have ‘liked’ not appearing anymore? 

Did you know that you have never received every status update that your friends have posted?  Facebook has made some changes recently that have drastically reduced what we see on our news feed.  But I can help you take back control so that you do see the posts you want.

Facebook's EdgeRank Algorithm

First I’ll explain how Facebook decides what appears on your newsfeed.  Each time one of your friends, or a Facebook Page you have ‘liked’, posts a status update, tags a photo, comments or ‘likes’ another update, it creates what Facebook calls an ‘Edge’ which could appear on your newsfeed.  Because your newsfeed would be swamped if every update, like, or comment from your friends was shown, Facebook created a way (an algorithm) to decide which edges would appear on your newsfeed.  Facebook predicts how interesting each edge would be to you, by looking back at what interaction you have had with that ‘friend’ in the past - how many mutual friends you have, how many times you comment, ‘like’, or share their updates.  Each action has a different value; for instance, commenting is worth more than ‘liking’.  Just reading an update in your newsfeed doesn’t count – you need to actually do something for Facebook to register that you want to interact with that person or page.  How often and how long ago you interacted with them is also taken into account.  Based on these factors (and more), Facebook ranks each edge and that score determines whether it appears on your newsfeed.  Each time you log on to Facebook your newsfeed will display only the highest ranked edges at that time.  If the EdgeRank Algorithm decides that an update is not of any interest to you and so doesn’t score well, you won’t see it.

Why do you need to know about the EdgeRank Algorithm?  By knowing how it works you know that the more you interact with updates from your Facebook friends and Pages, the more likely you are to see their posts in your newsfeed.  That means - Like, Comment, and Share!

Facebook has recently made changes to this EdgeRank Algorithm, which has resulted in a drastic drop off in the number of posts you see on your newsfeed from Facebook Pages you have liked.  You may have blogs that you follow, organisations you belong to, or shopping offers you like to receive each day; and you don’t want these updates disappearing.

You can’t force these posts to always appear in your newsfeed, but there is a way around these changes, so that you still see the posts you want. 

By creating Interest lists, you can group the Pages (and friends too if you like) you follow into different categories.  Some of the most popular posts from those lists will still appear in your newsfeed, but by clicking on the actual list you’ll see all the recent posts from those you’ve included in that list. 

How do you create Interest Lists?

  •     Click on INTERESTS (on the left of your newsfeed)
  •     On the Interests page, click on + Add Interests.
  •     Click Create List.
  •     A selection of Pages you have liked, other people or Pages you have interacted with and other suggestions will appear.  You don't have to 'like' a Page or subscribe to a person to add them to a list.  Click on any of these suggestions to add them to your Interest List, or search for others you might like using the search box at the top of the screen, or by using the categories on the left. 


  • After you've selected all those you want to include in your list, click Next.
  • Type a name for your list.
  • Select a privacy setting for your list.
  • Click Done.

Once you have created one list you can click on Add Interests at the bottom of your Interests lists to create another list.  You can see that I've got lists for Technology News, Business and blogging advice, Social Media, Organising and Bloggers.  I love that I can just go to the list I want and read posts only about a particular topic.

You can also add people or Pages to your existing interest lists from their Facebook Page.  Go to their Facebook Page, select settings (the gear icon), then click on Add to Interest Lists.  This same menu appears when you hover your mouse over their Like button.  Select the appropriate list from those shown and you’re done.  You can even create a new list at this point by selecting the last option + New List…

From now on, when you log on to Facebook, apart from checking your newsfeed, click on each of your Interest Lists to see all the posts in each category.  Just because all the posts are now visible don't forget to still interact with your friends and Pages you follow - Like, Comment and Share!

When I first created my lists I kept forgetting to check them.  Luckily you will occasionally see a summary post from Facebook notifying you of the number of new posts in your Interest lists.

Have you noticed the drop off in posts from your favourite Facebook people and Pages?  Have you set up Interest Lists yet?  If you have, are you remembering to check them? 


  1. I've dropped my FB reach by 90%, not that I was ever that great with FB anyway but PRs seem to put great store into how many likes one has. I found this post very easy to follow thanks.

    1. Thanks Carolyn, I've noticed mine drop off drastically too. I'm just about to post on FB about an interesting article from the Huffington Post with their take on FB's EdgeRank changes - worth a read.

  2. Thanks so much. I have noticed my newsfeed has dropped off and it's updates from the same people over and over again but where are the others? I'll create some interest groups. Thanks for the advice.

  3. Hmmm, my Hotly Spiced FB page doesn't have that option. There's no INTERESTS thingy to click on.

  4. Hi Charlie, you need to set up Interest List from your personal Facebook account - not from your Page. If you have 'liked' Pages from your Hotly Spiced Page, you can add them as well to your interest lists. Just search for them by name when you are creating a list. Or you can go to their FB Page and add them from there.

  5. Thanks Margaret. I hope you don't mind if I share the link to this on my Facebook Page tomorrow. So much better explained than anything else I have read. My facebook page is called Teapots and Tractors.

    1. Thanks Annaleis, I'd love you to share it on your FB Page. I've seen so many posts lately about how the Interest Lists are of no benefit to those with FB Pages, but for the individual and non-Page owner they're great. It means they don't miss any posts from Pages they like, and as long as they're still liking and commenting it could actually be of more benefit to Page owners because more of their posts are actually being seen (which means more of them can get 'liked') than just the few that appear on the newsfeed.

    2. Sharing the link today. Personally I find interest lists are now keeping me more in touch with the pages I want. And if I only have 10 minutes I might click on just one interest list and have a read.