Wednesday, 16 May 2012

How to remove Trending Articles from your Facebook newsfeed

Facebook has recently started pushing news articles into users' newsfeed. And like any new facebook feature, it hasn't found much fans. Facebook calls this "Frictionless Advertising", in that only those articles are shown to you which your friends have read. The logic behind this being that you would be interested in what your friends read.

It makes some sense in theory, but unfortunately very little in the real world . Why would I be interested in reading a boring article which one of my nerd "friends" just read? How about an article on basket weaving, dog walking, kitten huffing...? You get the idea. Frictionless? Probably not so. Might actually end up doing the exact opposite of what it's supposed to do: Creating friction.  But it does provide some interesting glimpses into what my so-called friends on facebook are interested in reading. How would the ladies react to finding that their oh-so-civil office colleague just read an article on the hottest swimwear trends for the season?
The Trending Articles is a glimpse into the kind of advertising you're likely to see on facebook in the future. While presently ads sulk at the right corner of your news feed, eventually they will be surreptitiously pushed into news feeds where it's more difficult to ignore them.

Anyways ads or no ads, I want the infuriating Trending Articles gone from my news feed. How do I do that? The good news is that it's quite easy. You don't even have to hire a zombie to kill it. You just gotta 'teach' your timeline.

So here's how you do it. 

The next time you see one of those cunning, lil' "Trending" Articles, hover to the right top corner of the story until you see an 'X' appear. Click on it and hover to the bottom option which says "Hide all by Washington Post Social Reader/Yahoo! News."
Hit that and voila! Trending Articles would not appear in your news feed anymore. Note that presently, only two apps support this feature of surreptitiously pushing content in your news feed i.e. Washington Post Social Reader and Yahoo! News. So to ensure that you do not see them again in your feed, make sure you click hide all by the WPSR and Yahoo News.  And if tomorrow another app starts supporting this "feature", you would have to issue a kill order on that too. But the good news is, by now you must be quite the expert on issuing kill orders on trending articles. Just follow the same as above.

Unfortunately, for this to work, you would have to wait till a story (Trending Article) by WPSR or Yahoo News appears in your news feed.

So be on the lookout! The next time you see one of those annoying Trending Articles, don't ignore it! Kill those and feed them to the zombies!

Update: The Guardian has also joined the bandwagon with their own app and has started pushing stories into users' news feeds. But don't be perturbed, for the above trick will KEEL the 'trending' articles from The Guardian too.

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