If there’s something on Facebook that won’t stop pinging you with Notifications, tell it to shut up instantly with Facebook’s new granular, in-line notification controls. Hover over an alert in the Facebook.com homepage’s globe icon drop-down and click the ‘x’ for the option to turn off notifications from that app, group, event, or post you commented on. The whole drop-down has a slick new look, and you can scroll down to much older notifications too.
Previously you had to dig your way to the dedicated Notifications Settings page to make these changes, and there was no way to turn off a specific source of alerts — you had to silence all your events or all your posts. Facebook has confirmed with me that most of the changes to notifications will be rolled out to everyone by tonight, except for app alert controls which are still in testing.
As we accumulate more friends and apps, Facebook’s notifications can turn from delightful pointers to annoying distractions that interrupt our lives. These new controls mean if you want a more zen Facebook experience, you can make it so.
[The screenshot above is of first app I saw in the updated notifications drop-down. Its inclusion in the screenshot is not a reflection of the quality of the app.]
Now that some of us have been on Facebook for eight years, Facebook needs to be mindful of exhausting its most active users. These are the people uploading the photos, starting the groups, and throwing the events that engage everyone else that uses the social network more casually. It’s already moving in the right direction by offering notification summaries instead of individual emails
If power users become even a bit annoyed with how often Facebook alerts them to minor occurrences, and they don’t feel like they have tight control, they could drift away and stop generating as much content. That could have a ripple effect on overall time-on-site and engagement that could hurt Facebook’s ad business.
The new controls should be especially helpful for quieting noisy groups. One minute someone adds you to a group without your consent, and the next minute you’re getting dozens of notifications about weird music genres or lame club nights. Facebook recently made it much easier to find notification controls on group pages, but now you don’t even have to visit to shut off these alerts.
[Update: Facebook tells me “The intent behind the change is to modernize the UI and add some features which will help users more easily consume and curate their notifications.”]