Decluttering Your Facebook Friend List

FACEBOOK FRIEND Clutter Flow Chart

Click to Enlarge

I’ve joked before about Facebook friend clutter, but never really felt the need to do anything about it. Who cares if a friend never posts, or has abandoned their account without deleting it? How is that hurting me?

I’ve known for awhile that Facebook does not show my personal posts to all my friends. And, sadly, it shows even fewer of my awesome biz posts to fans of my biz page, despite the fact that they’ve indicated interest by “liking” it. (What the heck?) It’s all part of a complicated algorithm that is based in part on how many friends/fans “interact” with my posts by liking/commenting/sharing them.

But recently I read that one of the things Facebook looks at when deciding how widely to share your new post is how many of your friends interact with it during the initial phases of releasing it to them. Yes, they are released in phases. Not all at once. And the more friends you have who do not engage, the less likely they are to show it to the rest of your friends. Wow.

So what prevents friends/fans from engaging? Well, it could be boring content. Not me, I know. LOL!

But it could also be that the friends/fans are inactive users; or they’re “just not that into you”; or… well, they could be dead. Don’t laugh, I just removed 3 such friends from my list!

I don’t know how true all that is, and in any case they are constantly changing the Facebook algorithm. But it did prompt me to take a closer look at my friend list and inspired me to create a new flow chart for you. This one’s a freebie. I hope you enjoy it! (Hint: If it’s not someone whose friendship you value, they’re Facebook clutter.)

If it's not someone whose friendship you value, they're Facebook clutter. Click To Tweet

P.S. The chart kinda mixes apples with oranges: “unfriending” would theoretically, but probably not significantly, help with one’s posts getting seen; and “hiding” just declutters one’s own news feed. But it’s mostly just for fun anyway.

Do you agree with the chart? (Click the image to enlarge it.)

What would you add?

Are you going to unfriend (or hide) anyone as a result?

Please leave a comment below!

Copyright 2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Tammy Laurent on June 4, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    I was just discussing this with a friend! She complained that her FB was a bunch of people she really didn’t want to share her thoughts/life/activities with. So I advised her to”unfriend” them! They won’t know! Or just hide their posts, which is what I do when I’ve gotten a billion cute dog pictures from the same person. I love animals, but enough is enough! Right on, Hazel! I love this!

    • Hazel Thornton on June 10, 2015 at 7:49 am

      Yes…they’re absolutely clutter if you don’t want to share anything with them! You can’t just hide them in that case, though, becuase they’ll still see your posts. You can choose, on any given post, who all can see it…..but it’s more trouble than it’s worth if you ask me. You have to remember how you last set it, and remember to set it back.

  2. Christina Rogers on June 4, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Awesome and informative post, Hazel! I have been meaning to go through and clean up my FB friend list.

  3. Hazel Thornton on June 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Glad you liked it! I kinda mixed apples with oranges…and added a P.S. to that effect.

  4. Andi Willis on June 6, 2015 at 6:26 am

    This is one of the Flings in my Spring and Fall flings. The “real estate” in FB has become so crowded that there is little room for stuff/people you just don’t really care about. I’ve even hidden a few family members whose political and frankly offensive posts were making me dred FB. They will show up occasionally for an important event post but all of the rest if the babble has gone away.

    • Hazel Thornton on June 6, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Yes. And you can always (if you hide, as opposed to unfriend, someone) go to their Timeline and check up on them if you want to.

      • Natalie on June 6, 2015 at 12:17 pm


        I love that you addressed this topic. Indeed there is such a thing as “Facebook Clutter”! I also throw friends who are constantly spewing out negativity in that category.

        I never thought about the variables that play into whether my personal posts are being published (I focus so much on how difficult it is to get my biz posts viewed). Interesting stuff!

        • Hazel Thornton on June 7, 2015 at 7:02 am

          Agreed. The chart says, “Do they post mostly things you dislike?” That covers negativity in all forms!

  5. Seana Turner on June 6, 2015 at 7:49 am

    I’ve actually never thought about this, Hazel. I didn’t realize FB wasn’t showing personal posts to all my friends, I thought that was only a business page situation. I also didn’t know that the other person would be not be notified if I unfriended him/her. Maybe I should review my friends!

    • Hazel Thornton on June 7, 2015 at 6:59 am

      Seana, think of a couple of friends you haven’t seen in your newsfeed in awhile….go to their Timeline and see if they’ve been posting.

  6. Sarah Soboleski on June 6, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Thanks for alerting me to all these issues and making me think about FB clutter! I just may have to follow your flow chart steps and maybe pass along to some folks too!

    • Hazel Thornton on June 7, 2015 at 6:59 am

      Share away, Sarah! 🙂

  7. Sabrina Q. on June 6, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for the information. I also saw the drop in my Facebook views. Over the years, people have been leaving Facebook and with the changes Facebook made, my Facebook page has grown only a little, sadly. But, I probably won’t delete my “friends”.

  8. Anna E. Lee - Interior Design on June 6, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    How interesting!

    I actually spent some time last Fall going through a Facebook de-cluttering. There were just a bunch of old high school and college friends/acquaintances that I didn’t talk to/was not close to any more, so I decided to go ahead and clear them out. I didn’t really feel bad about it because we seriously hadn’t spoken in years. It felt refreshing!

    • Hazel Thornton on June 7, 2015 at 7:05 am

      I submit that MOST of the categories of friend clutter will never even notice you’ve unfriended them!

  9. Jill Robson on June 8, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I always thought that who ever you unfriended knew about it! That gives me the opportunity to do some unfriending. For me it’s the content they post more than anything.

    • Hazel Thornton on June 10, 2015 at 7:53 am

      The only way they’ll know is if you have been in recent constant contact, and they notice they’re not seeing your posts anymore, or they aren’t able to interact like before, and they think to (and know how to) check your friendship status. Most people in the categories I suggest will never do that.

  10. Janet Barclay on June 26, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Confession time: When Facebook tells me it’s someone’s birthday, sometimes I have to look at their profile to see who that person even is. That’s often a trigger for me to unfriend them. It feels mean to unfriend someone on their birthday, but thankfully no notification is sent!

    • Hazel Thornton on July 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Birthday notifications are what got me thinking about this in the first place. For the most part I am glad of the notification, and the opportunity to wish the person a happy birthday. Other times I’m thinking, “Hmmm…when’s the last time I interacted with that person? Would they even notice if I did not wish them a happy birthday?”

  11. Kathy Kwait on July 2, 2015 at 10:29 am

    There’s another side to unfriending…I would do it very carefully. Perhaps there is no “notification” sent when you unfriend but it was obvious when you don’t receive their posts anymore thus peeking curiosity as to why and then finding out you have been unfriended. I rarely post but I sincerely enjoy reading others’ posts…I don’t always “like” so perhaps I have fallen to the’s awkward to have to beg for “re-friending” to be told it was an “accident”. IMO “hide” is a better option.

    • Hazel Thornton on July 2, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Let’s not forget that the first question on the chart is: “Is it someone whose friendship you value?” Despite Facebook’s algorithm (which is constantly changing), if I value someone’s friendship I would never unfriend them just because they don’t “like” enough of my posts. And make no mistake, weird glitches DO happen on FB! For example, I was recently notified that MY friend request was approved….for someone I’ve never heard of in my life!

  12. Andi Willis on January 9, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I’ve made a point of unfriending or at least hiding people that I’m not sure why I accepted their friend request and ones who are always negative or particularly nasty when it comes to politics. Also unliking pages that no longer interest me. Makes my feed much more pleasant.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      One thing about hiding (but staying friends with) people you’re not sure why you’re friends…make sure they’re real people, and not scammers of some sort.

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