Facebook is testing a new feature that will allow users to block stories containing any keyword from their News Feed.
So if you want to avoid Game of Thrones or Westworld spoilers and you live in the test market, you can do that.
Or, say, if you have Trump fatigue and want to silence all stories about the president, you can do that too.
It’s called “Keyword Snooze” and it’s quietly going live Wednesday to a percentage of users, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed. So you can mute, say, “Kardashian.” Or “blockchain.” Or “Roseanne Barr.”
The feature gives users the option to pause posts from people, Pages and Groups containing any given keyword in the text of the posted stories. Like the “snooze” name suggests, however, it’s not permanent — the stories containing the keyword are blocked for 30 days, then will be let back into your News Feed again (unless you re-Snooze them). You can even block very generic words like “wedding” or “baby” if you want to cut down on all the wedding and baby photos in your feed (obviously the offending post would have to contain one of those words for it to be blocked, however).
The function will be added to the suite of News Feed controls like See First, Hide and Unfollow. Like this:
If you’re in the test market, to make this work you first to go a post that includes the keyword you want to snooze. Then you can hit a drop-down arrow on the post to reveal a “snooze keywords in this post” function. Hitting that reveals a list of words from the post you can block future stories about. According to TechCrunch, Keyword Snooze won’t work for blocking ads, however — so if you snooze Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom you won’t see News Feed posts but you might still see ads about it.
Naturally, the feature might be criticized as contributing to the narrowing of our news diet — allowing partisans to put blinders on to certain subjects that are important yet distressing (“immigration,” “global warming”). But one could counter that as a private company, Facebook doesn’t owe its users a constant undiluted and unfiltered news streaming covering anything and everything.
The feature will be gradually rolled out to a couple million users by next week. If successful, the feature will be rolled out to more users.