Facebook will be changing the way it handles its friends lists, the feature that lets users sort their friends into broad categories and share content selectively.
The site already allows users to sort friends into lists, but since that functionality wasn’t built in from the beginning, many people haven’t taken advantage of the option.
According to a blog post from the social network, Facebook has built in three new list features that will be available to all users this week. Smart lists automatically populate groups based on those who have the same workplace listed as you, those who’ve attended the same school as you, family members, and friends who live nearby. Users will be able to add or remove friends manually and will be able to share with selective groups straight from a post.
“Lists have existed for several years, but you’ve told us how time-consuming it is to organize lists for different parts of your life and keep them up to date,” wrote Facebook’s Blake Ross. Now, Facebook will also make it easy to add someone to a particular friends list when you make your first connection.
The network is also rolling out “close friends” and “acquaintances” lists that you control and that affect what shows up in your news feed. Adding someone to the “acquaintances” list effectively mutes their posts in your news feed except for big events, “like when they get married or move to a new city,”Ross wrote.
Screenshots posted to Twitter last week indicated that Facebook was testing the smart lists, which are similar to Google+ Circles. The ability to categorize friends into custom lists from the beginning has been a major draw for the new social network.