The move could lead more consumers to unfollow brands that they previously Liked.

Facebook Inc. is giving consumers more control over the content they see in their news feeds. And it could lead to more consumers unfollowing brands.

The social network today rolled out updated news feed settings that show users the top people, pages and groups that they’ve seen in their news feed over the past week. Users can sort by people, pages or groups posts or see an overall summary. And, in a move that could reduce some brands’ fan bases, the same area gives consumers a simple way to click to unfollow or select to see fewer posts from certain people, brands and groups.

“If you see a story you’re not interested in or don’t want to see, you can tap the arrow in the top right of that story to hide it,” writes Greg Marra, Facebook product manager, in a blog post. “Starting today, when you hide a story you’ll have the option to ask to see less from that person or page.”

The move could further reduce the number of unpromoted brand posts consumers see in their news feeds. The percentage of shoppers who see a brand’s typical Facebook post is half what it was a year ago, according to the latest Adobe Digital Index, which is based on data gathered from thousands of Adobe Systems Inc.’s retail clients. And that continues a shift by Facebook to limit the percentage of shoppers who see unpromoted posts; While 16.0% of a brand’s fans saw a brand’s post in February 2012, that percentage fell to 6.5% in March 2014, according to Edgerank Checker.
Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s founder and CEO, yesterday suggested that its curation of users’ news feeds produce a better experience during a live-stream question-and-answer session. Zuckerberg said that while a typical Facebook user could potentially view 1,500 updates a day, he only sees about 100. That means businesses that want to appear in that feed need to produce “really good content that’s going to be compelling to your customers.”

“In every decision that we make, we optimize…so that the people who we serve, who use Facebook, and who are reading the news feed get the very best experience that they can,” he said. “That means that if a business is sharing content that’s going to be useful for them, then we’ll show that. But that means if the business is sharing content that isn’t going to be useful for them, we may not show that.”


That is, it won’t show those posts unless those businesses pay to promote them; paid impressions on Facebook rose 5% year over year in the third quarter, according to Adobe.

The new settings are available for both mobile and desktop users starting today.