We’ve all been in that awkward situation where you need to unfollow certain friends or stay away from social media completely in a bid to miss Game of Thrones episode spoilers. Well, Facebook is now testing the option to “snooze” specific keywords so you won’t see them for 30 days in your News Feed or Groups.
It’s only rolling out to a small number of users so far. You know how these thing go… Facebook wants to make sure people can use it for good and not take advantage of the feature to do something obnoxious or evil — or, more likely, Facebook wants to ensure it doesn’t discourage its users from staying on the platform.
The feature could make people both more comfortable browsing the social network when they’re trying to avoid something, while also not feeling guilty about posting content about sensitive topics. We’ve found muting an invaluable tool to make Twitter a more bearable place to be.
To snooze a keyword, you’d first have to find a post that includes it, which kind of defeats the whole purpose, but Facebook is still testing the feature and will probably add the snooze option into the News Feed Preferences menu in future.
For the lucky ones who have access so far, just click on the drop-down arrow on the post you don’t want to see, and it will reveal an option to “snooze keywords in this post.” Tapping that reveals a list of nouns without common words like “the” in the way.
If you use the feature on a post that reads “England won its World Cup game against Tunisia!”, for example, the feature will pull out “World Cup,” “England,” and “Tunisia.” If you choose “England”, you won’t see any posts related to England for a month.
The feature only works on text right now, not images, and won’t suggest synonyms you might want to snooze as well. It also won’t apply to sponsored posts (because people still have to make money, yo), but could potentially play a massive role in helping prevent (or ‘mute’) online bullying, which could have a great impact on the online environment for many people.
Muting will be more like snoozing an alarm than cancelling it — unlike the muting Twitter launched in November 2016 or the keyword blocking for post comments Instagram launched in September 2016. According to Facebook, making muting temporary is intended to ensure people don’t mute something, forget they’ve have done so, and accidentally miss Brexit 2.0. It could happen.