As expected, Facebook today announced Interest Lists, which let you view a filtered version of your News Feed that only features Pages and subscribers related to a particular topic. Facebook says the new feature turns your News Feed "into your own personalized newspaper" with special sections (feeds) for topics that matter to you. Interest Lists will launch "in the coming weeks."
Facebook will soon add an "Add Interests" link in your left-hand bookmarks. When you click it, you can subscribe to lists on almost any topic. At the same time, from a drop-down menu beneath the cover photo on Pages that switched to Timeline as well as on profiles belonging to subscribers who have Timeline, users will be able to click on "Add to Interests Lists." The top stories from each interest appear in your News Feed so you can scan interesting headlines or click through to read more posts.
Facebook will be offering traditional news sections like Business, Sports, and Style, as well as more specific ones like Tech News, NBA Players, and Art Critics. If you don't see a list for one of your interests, don't worry, as you'll be able to make your own lists to organize your favorite content. All you'll have to do is go to the Interests page, and click Create List. You can make your list public, so that others subscribe to your new list, or keep it private.
Facebook offered two examples (note: the links will only work if your account already has Interest Lists enabled):
- If you're a San Francisco 49ers fan, subscribe to the NFL Teams interest list for a gridiron-focused feed. No need to check on each team in the NFL, your favorite athletes' profiles, and ESPN.
- If you're into politics, subscribe to the 2012 US Presidential Candidates interest list to see updates from all the campaigns, or get posts from major news outlets like CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and the Wall Street Journal.
Facebook users can already create Friend Lists to organize their contacts, but users have never been able to create lists of Pages and subscribers. As Facebook users Like more Pages and Subscribe to more public figures, a feature like Interest Lists makes sense.
It's worth noting how similar the feature is to Twitter Lists. Ever since Facebook launched Subscriptions, the social networking giant has been offering more and more features that mimic how Twitter functions (see links below). In this case, Facebook is indeed following Twitter (pun intended), which has lists that can be either public or private.
- Facebook launches Subscriptions, similar to Twitter following
- Facebook now lets you update Twitter
- Facebook launches Subscribe button for websites
- Facebook launches verified accounts, pseudonyms
- Facebook: 1000s of journalists are already using Subscribe
- The rich flock to Facebook, don't bother with Twitter