Facebook hasn’t formally explained the latest upgrade to news feed filters, and some users are confused. Some postings describe the default settings almost like a grand conspiracy to hide updates. Let’s set the record straight.

Have you noticed that posts about the news feed filters include the following paragraph (I’ve left their punctuation errors and writing idiosyncracies intact), copied and pasted virally:

HERE’S THE FIX: Scroll down to the bottom of the newsfeed on the homepage and click on “Edit Options”, click on “Show Posts From” and change the setting to “All Of Your Friends and Pages” Note: This is the fix for personal pages but I am unsure of whether or not the business pages are set up the same way.

Now let’s back up. Look at the two labels immediately above the news feed on the right-hand side. Both default to showing content from people and pages you interact with most, until you adjust the settings.

Clicking on “top news” shows activity that has been garnering the most attention, while just clicking on “most recent,” without holding down on the link to produce the drop-down menu, shows the news feed in reverse chronological order.

You can edit these options either at the top or the bottom of the news feed, and while the virally posted advice suggests you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to do this, I prefer to stay right at the top of the screen — you have more choices here. Clicking on the words “most recent” on the right-hand side of the bar over the news feed produces a drop-down menu, which you can see in the screenshot below.

Notice that “edit options” shows up at the bottom of the drop-down menu. Above it, you see several suggestions from Facebook about how to slice and dice the news feed — I could click on links that will show me only game-related activity , just status updates, activity involving photos, new links and comments related to them, or pages. Below those options, two different friend lists are suggested; they look like the first two out of my 15 different friend lists, based on alphabetical order. These are not my most active lists, but clicking on “choose another” expands the drop-down menu to include all of my lists.

Notice that in both the expanded drop-down and the smaller one, the “edit options” link appears at the bottom. Clicking on it will take you to that same filter window that people have been alluding to in viral notes — this is where you could choose to either look at all news feed content from every single one of your contacts, identify individuals who you don’t want to read about, or look at friends and pages you interact with most. That is the default setting, not something to worry about.

Facebook created this default setting in an attempt to simplify things for users, but also for pages and their administrators. The large numbers of contacts that most people have, combined with large amounts of activity on the site, make it increasingly harder for anything to get noticed amid all the so-called noise. Defaulting to the friends and pages you interact with most is just one way to manage all of this, but apparently not everyone appreciates it.

What do you think of Facebook’s news feed filters? How can the site make them easier for everyone to understand and appreciate?