Facebook Interest Lists are going away

Screenshot of a Facebook Interests List we set up for some Tourism Currents clients. Very handy for tracking what folks were talking about on their Pages.
Screenshot of a Facebook Interest List that we set up for some Tourism Currents clients. Very handy for tracking, in one place, what folks were talking about on their Pages, rather than manually going from Page to Page to see their latest posts.

 

Boy, I hate just stumbling without warning on the demise of a favorite feature….

I was a big fan of setting up Facebook Interest Lists of the Pages run by Tourism Currents clients and prospective clients. Such lists meant that I could click one link on my News Feed left sidebar, see all the latest posts from a certain group, and Like/Share/Comment on each one as appropriate.

It was an easy way to keep in touch with folks, stay visible to them, and give their posts a little algorithm help, too. It was smart business. We showed people how to do it all the time in our social media workshops for tourism.

Now, it looks like Facebook is removing the Interest List feature. I discovered this when I went to confirm the list setup process – in case it had changed, as things do – and I couldn’t find the “Add a List” feature on my News Feed left sidebar any more.

It’s also buried in this post about changes to Facebook metrics and reporting:

“Interest Lists – Follower Counts.

Interest lists are a way to organize and view content on Facebook. Given low consumer usage of interest lists, we have decided to retire this feature, [emphasis mine] which will result in a drop in the total number of followers for profiles that created interest lists or were featured in lists. There are two reasons for this: 1) For people that created or were featured in an interest list, profile follower counts include the followers of the interest list; 2) People can follow someone from a profile and through an interest list, which means a profile’s follower number could double count that person. This update does not impact News Feed distribution or Page Insights. The impact to profile follower counts will vary, depending on the number of interest lists the profile created and was featured in. Most profiles will see a drop in followers of less than 5%.”

 

I am NOT happy about this; it was super-handy to be able to show a CVB, DMO, Chamber of Commerce, or Main Street organization how they could see tourism partner Facebook updates all in one place.

This is another reminder that Facebook controls Facebook, not you, so don’t get too fond of any of its features.

 

—->>  Update December 2016  –  First, I’ve found that I can still see my old Interest Lists, but only on mobile, in the Facebook app on my phone. I can’t see the list of List members, but at least I can see the latest updates from them. It’s all gone from my desktop.

Second, thanks to suggestions from the comments on this post, I’ve been experimenting with adding Pages to a Facebook Friend List. The Friend Lists are supposed to be for grouping together certain people/personal profiles. You find them in your left sidebar. Facebook may have already auto-created some for you, with names like Family, or ones with people from your high school or college. When I created a new Friend List, it would not let me add a Page to it unless I had at least one person already in it. So far, this has worked for me. Since I can still see my Interest Lists on mobile, I’ll try to re-create them as Friend Lists as quickly as I can before they totally disappear.

 

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About Sheila Scarborough

I'm a writer and speaker specializing in tourism, travel and social media. Co-founder of Tourism Currents (training in social media for tourism) and the Perceptive Travel Blog.
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44 Responses to Facebook Interest Lists are going away

  1. Pedro Pires says:

    I totally agree with you! I was also a user of the Interest lists. I had by subject a lot pages segmented. It was a lot easy to keep up with new posts by Facebook page subject. Now I don’t feel the same interest for Facebook as I had, before the Interest lists were gone! Why the Social Networks are always changing for worse? Because most people is lazy or ignorant and don’t use the Interest list feature, Facebook simply ended that, with no consideration for people like us who were using the Interest lists!

    • It’s frustrating, that’s for sure.

    • Jo Etta Hill says:

      Exactly. I am majorly bummed by this. It was a great way to essentially orgainize your news feed. Now everything is jumbled together again in one big list (News or Page Feeds). Arghhh.

    • DIANA SARAFIN says:

      I feel the same, so aggravating. They keep trying to fix what isn’t broke.

    • Tony Gatlin says:

      This is tragic. I instantly lost access to more than 70 pages that I heavily depended on, for important information relayed to my groups and business connections on a daily basis. At the very least, Facebook could have given some sort of warning so we could bookmark pages in our browsers. I will possibly be seeking alternate options, other than Facebook for future communications.

    • ZH says:

      Agree. And honestly, I keep wondering what other people do on facebook if it’s true that the majority of users didn’t use these lists? Do they really go through the whole newsfeed to see e.g. news articles posted hours or days ago? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. And I’ve been fed up with fb news feed manipulations for a while now, so I’m definitely not going to use it to follow what I’m interested in. Hope someone will come with a handy app or site to compensate for this lost feature…

    • Dino says:

      It’s obviously a commercial strategy, whatever they can say to justify. Zuckerberg treats really well users, very well..

  2. Lex Gr says:

    …and suddenly today they are back. :/ And I’m wondering, permanently or temporarily, in order to save pages etc from them? :/

  3. Connie says:

    Any suggestions on where to go to replicate our interests lists? Twitter? Other? Have lost a lot of enthusiasm for Facebook with their censoring and this just about finishes my interest. Need an easy way to catch up on specific subjects like Weather. It was getting harder and harder to use the lists. Eventually you had to click or touch 4-5 times to get to them. Could no longer assign a list when liking a page for awhile now. Facebook put effort into making it difficult to use interest lists.

    • Lex Gr says:

      You can make “friends lists” with the same content. It accepts pages as well.

      • Connie says:

        Thank you, GREAT IDEA!

      • Jen says:

        how do you do this and still see the posts?

      • Fuzzy Chinguk says:

        Thanks very much for the tip.

        I’m so miffed at FB for removing this feature. Now I have to curate my lists all over again…and I bet I can’t even remember all of them! There were hundreds and hundreds of pages I had saved on my interest lists, under all different categories. SIGH!

        What I’m doing now to re-mediate the situation is to ‘Like’ all the pages that I previously had on my Interest lists, and then clicking ‘Unfollow’ so that the posts from these pages do not clutter up my main newsfeed. Then I head back to the newly created “Friends List” to add in the page.

        OH GOSH WHY AM I DOING DOUBLE TRIPLE WORK FB.

        Is this a ploy to get more people to like pages??

      • Summer says:

        I tried this with my local news sites and no posts show up, I guess it works as a shortcut to click on each individually to read but in all honestly I know I won’t do it.

        • Summer says:

          Update: I checked the friends list I made about an hour later and it’s populating content from pages now, yay!

          • Ian says:

            It’s not really a solution and doesn’t compare with the actual interest list. The posts from pages will only display those that are popular or got promoted ans some pages feeds will not appear at all, in the end it’s no different from your regular news feed or the default pages feed.

            Interest lists doesn’t have a few users as they claim and even if it did then what’s the hrm in keeping it for those *few* users, no, that’s not the issue… the issue is money. With lists, users could still stay updated with their liked pages without the pages having to promote/pay for boosts. The greedy capitalist scumbags didn’t like that, even if the lists’ subscribers amounted for like 10%, why let the pages get away with that without paying? Everybody has to pay. Some pages tried to overcome that by actually creating personal account like regular users and allowing followers.. when the jerks find out about it they lock their accounts hence the new thing about proving yourself with an ID scan to reactivate your account, they don’t give a shite about protecting other users which was a nice claim for the deactivations, namely protecting kids but because they sensed that pages could slip away without boosting their posts.

            Facebook needs to take a note from Yahoo! and myspace, when they stopped listening to their user base and removed features, they’ve gone into oblivion and perhaps that should be the fate of all those who take money over the product and users feedback.

          • jing says:

            I didn’t know about the “boosts” thing. It has one flaw tho. Just for the sake of argument, let’s say there are about 100 FB pages with same content about “mini car model” or “car toy”. 90 pages of them paid for “boosts”. So what is the point of this if 90% of them are “boosted”. I know the “boosts” mean you get recommended more often (etc.) to the users. It’s the same shiet for Youtube, which they had removed this exactly feature, “interest lists”. Truly capitalist scumbags.

      • I tried that but couldn’t include Pages, only personal profiles.

        • Lex Gr says:

          You have to like or follow them first. Works fine for me, hope it eventually does for you too!

        • Patricia says:

          Same here. I can’t include Pages, either. My interest lists just disappeared today. I, like many of you who have commented here, organized pages in this way to access specific interests. A lot of what I saw on my interests lists didn’t even make it to my Newsfeed, not to mention the Newsfeed can be far too overwhelming with the distraction of everything under the sun thrown in together on top of ads every two posts. This change is disappointing, to say the least.

      • Sue says:

        Great tip, will try that!

    • Lex Gr says:

      Google’s + Collections are an excellent feature. Facebook should learn from it.

      Also, feed aggregators like Feedly.

  4. Mark says:

    Interest lists were the primary reason I used Facebook. Mine were taken away last night. I went into my browser history and searched for “lists”. I visit those lists daily, so all of them were in there. I bookmarked them and can still access them from the bookmarks for now.

    I started using lists as a replacement for RSS feeds after Google Reader shut down. I have now duplicated the content of those lists in Feedly and in Twitter. I’ll switch to those platforms if the lists are permanently removed.

    • Connie says:

      Mark, Good ideas. I didn’t book mark my lists, but can recreate them.

    • Summer says:

      That’s exactly what I did since I couldn’t find another RSS reader. I have one now I sort of like, but I haven’t been able to get into the habit of using it. FB lists were great because, for one example, I was able to keep local news in one, news from hometown in another, so I can browse that kind of content when I want – usually once a day. Among many other things. Now FB is pretty much useless to me, I’ll have to unlike everything and just occasionally use it to see what’s up with just family and close friends.

    • Alex says:

      This option works great!
      I found 1 interest list link in a message I sent a friend and bookmarked it.

      I tried to figure out the http for the other/lost lists but I have no idea how this crazy numbers and letters are coded…

      If anyone finds a way to hack it please let me know

      Would love to have my lists back!!!

  5. Agreed! I spent years creating my lists and use them all the time with my marketing tasks – not sure how I can recapture the ability to see what I need now. A real bummer!

  6. Alex Mosk says:

    Damn, I was so angry, the only feature to structure Facebook content – and they are killing it. Just like it was with Youtube collections earlier

  7. typeo_girl says:

    I was a huge user of Interest Lists – I had them broken out by category, Food, Local, Environment, Science, etc. This really made me mad. I wish they would bring them back.

  8. Jason Bowers says:

    Why do Facebook always change their settings? Makes me puzzled a lot!
    Jason Bowers´s last [post] ..Abonnement 1turf Sans Risque

  9. OK, folks, thanks to an idea from Lex Gr up above, I tried to create a new Friends List and add Pages to it. That didn’t work for me, but I found that I COULD add Pages to one of the Friends Lists that I already had. This may be the work-around. *crosses fingers*

    • Lex Gr says:

      Sheila, what I do is this:

      I create a new friends list (just name it).

      I do not add anyone yet. Just save it. Empty for now.

      Afterwards, I go to the right, add someone from the field “Add friends to this list”. Just the first one.

      After I do that, I click “See all”. From the menu at the left of the pop-out window I choose not “On this list” (which stands by default), but either “Pages” or “Following”. And I add whomever I want by ticking their profile/page.

      Sounds more complicated than it is. It will be a piece of cake as soon as you do it once.

      Hope this works for you.

  10. Kathy Carroll says:

    I had a lot of local businesses on an interests list. I can add them to a friends list or news feed list. This is frustrating. I don’t want to have to go to another platform to see them. And I don’t want to have to search through my entire news feed to find them.

  11. Matt Cruse says:

    Hi all. I’ve been gradually stumbling over posts like this as I’ve been exploring the reasons why my Interest Lists disappeared. It is a decision beyond stupidity on Facebook’s part if they have truly discontinued the feature – which is what seems to be the case. Why they didn’t post a global message to all users is a mystery.

    It does appear though that you can indeed now add Pages to Friends Lists. I managed to find all but two of my old lists through the hard URLs in my internet history and have been rebuilding my Lists as new “Friends Lists”. Meanwhile, I can still access the old lists on the Android app so can gradually rebuild the two rogue lists from their feeds – unfortunately you can’t display list members on the app which is super-annoying.

    On first glance, it seems to be working when I compare new and old versions of my Lists, though there are a few occasions where posts have appeared in the old list but not in the new. On the whole, it DOES work – but it still doesn’t explain why Facebook hasn’t come forward and let people know about it or simply migrated existing lists to the new system. Interest Lists suddenly disappearing from everyone’s Facebook is ludicrous and shows a total lack of respect for users. And I agree that this “low usage” execuse is a bunch of cobblers and shouldn’t make any difference; for starters, Facebook has never been that open or clear on how to maximise its functionality.

    So… if you have access to your old lists, start rebuilding them through the existing Friends List feature. We don’t know how long it will be until the original versions are shut down completely.

    Cheers for now, Matt

  12. Sue says:

    Now why couldn’t facebook warn us to begin with, and why couldn’t they also offer us a work-around? This sucks because it clearly shows their ‘we don’t care’ attitude towards users.

    The interest lists still work. I found them all in my browser history and bookmarked them. Took screen shots of all added pages. So at least I have that for now.

  13. Dianne Corriere says:

    When my Interest Lists vanished a couple of days ago I was able to recreate a couple of them by creating a friends List. Today the lists are completely gone again. I tried to create a list of Friends but after adding a few people the list was nowhere to be found. It seems that they are taking the features slowly. Like everyone else here I am angry with Facebook.

  14. Lex Gr says:

    So, I transferred the pages and the profiles I could save or remember to “friends lists” and added them to the menu on the left as “favourites” to make them accessible.

    Today, I realised that Facebook removed the friends lists from the menu altogether.

    Are they trying to make us leave??? What are they thinking!?!

    So frustrating!!

  15. I noticed my lists were gone about a week ago. I had several curated lists, but the most popular were for Bitcoin and severe weather. This is one more step towards this whole “Fake News” agenda that is being played-out in the wake of the US elections. They are taking away control of how you can filter your own news feeds. For me, it simply means going back to using RSS–even for my YouTube subscriptions, since “Fake News” doesn’t always appear.

  16. I updated the original blog post to indicate that 1) I can still see my Interest Lists on mobile, but not on desktop, and 2) I’ve had some success building out a Facebook Friend List to match one of the Interest Lists I lost.

    No telling when that feature might disappear as well, though….

  17. Barry Woodward says:

    Just found this out today and really disappointed. Going by the quote from FB you used I can’t understand why they didn’t just stop the ability to follow lists (i.e. make them all private)? Surely this would have cleared up the problem for the stat nerds out there for whom the difference in the number of ‘real’ page likes counts for a bean?

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