Facebook, as with any situation in which you gather everyone you’ve ever known, even if only as an acquaintance, under one roof, can get pretty annoying. However, for some, unfriending is a little harsh, while unfollowing them altogether also doesn’t quite do the trick. According to TechCrunch, Facebook is testing a new feature designed to address that very issue: a snooze button. The new feature will allow you to mute specific words for 30 days, thereby ensuring you don’t see posts with that word in your News Feed or Groups. It will be introduced to a small group starting Wednesday.
The ability to snooze words does have some enticing possibilities. If you haven’t yet watched a big sports game, you can mute the team names and avoid the score. Similarly, you can more easily avoid all those garbage people who post spoilers, like, two minutes after a season finale. It could also have more serious uses, particularly when it comes to abuse or online bullying.
Of course, the snooze capability has some immediate shortcomings: at least in this initial stage, you must first come across a post that has the word you’d rather not see, and then hit the drop-down menu and find the “snooze keywords in this post option. That seems counterproductive, since you’ll have already seen the spoiler or offensive word, but TechCrunch reports a Facebook spokesperson said the company is considering a “a preemptive snooze option” as well as a “recurring snooze list” so you could re-enable words you find yourself snoozing often, like sports teams.
Keep in mind you’ll only be able to snooze posts from organic content on your feed, so if you snooze “Avengers,” you might still see Avengers-themed ads on your timeline.
Also, it’s only a temporary solution to what could be a permanent problem. Twitter already allows users to permanently mute words and Instagram allows you to block certain words from comments. A Facebook representative said that might be a future addition to the feature “if we’re hearing from people that they want more or less time.”
Some other obvious shortcomings of the feature won’t be addressed just yet. For starters, you can’t mute photos, so you’ll have to keep seeing your weird high school friend’s baby every other day. However, as Entertainment Weekly points out, the feature could also have people muting important words they just don’t agree with, like “immigration” or “global warming.” Facebook already works to only show us what we demonstrate we like and agree with, and they’re cool sharing user’s data in an attempt to influence a presidential election.