Facebook un-friend

facebook-stop-following-friend-screenshotFacebook un-friend: a reader asks…

I use Facebook every day and have a huge group of friends. Unfortunately, one of these friends has started posting things I find really objectionable. I would like to unfriend them, but know that will cause a fight in real life which I’d like to avoid. Is there a way I can stop seeing their posts without unfriending them?

Both Facebook and Twitter have a method of blocking someone’s posts from appearing in your feed without you having to let them know you’ve done so. For Facebook, it’s very simple. On the offending post (this is using Facebook on a computer’s web browser or using the Facebook app on a smartphone or tablet):

  1. click the caret (downward arrow) on the right side of the poster’s name to open a menu
  2. select (left-click) the entry “Unfollow ____, Stop seeing posts but remain friends”

From that point forward, you won’t see any of their posts in your news feed, and the only way they’ll find out is by looking at your facebook page (computer screen) over your shoulder. In order to see their posts you’d have to visit their page. This option is the most innocuous way to stop seeing objectionable status updates, but I think there are circumstances where you’d want to go further, either private messaging them, officially unfriending them, or reporting the post. In particular, hate speech, incitements to violence and blatant lies shouldn’t be just ignored. You need to take action because by keeping silent, you are condoning such behavior. Just my .02…

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twitter-app-menu-block-ads-screenshotFor Twitter, it’s a similar process, but different from web browser to smartphone app. On the web browser, you have three horizontal dots at the bottom of each post, click on that and you get a list of things you can do. Muting hides their posts, but doesn’t remove them from your follow list. Blocking removes them from your follow list so you won’t see their posts. Choose Report and you are telling Twitter that the post is offensive. On the smartphone app, tap the time entry to the right of the poster’s name and that’ll give you a bigger view of the tweet with the three horizontal dots to tap and get the same menu. If you see an X to the right of the poster’s name, that’s not someone you follow, but someone Twitter thinks you’d be interested in. Tap the X and you’ll get some options for how you want that tweet (and future un-solicited tweets) handled. In short, that’s advertising and you can choose from three options:

  1. Tweet is not relevant: you just don’t like the subject or product
  2. Tweet appears too often: unless you’re keeping score on advertising in your twitter feed, this seems disingenuous
  3. Tweet is offensive: report away, but don’t do this unless the tweet is truly offensive to you

I should note that Facebook also sticks advertising status updates in your news feed. With the same downward caret menu, you have a slightly different list of things you can do, but you can still elect to not see such posts on your timeline.

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