Q: How do I stop all those annoying FarmVille and Mafia Wars updates from my friends on Facebook?

A: I have gotten this question a lot recently. The key is trying to stop updates only from those particular apps, not all updates from a friend. I seemed to recall that there was a way to do it, but it involved a few non-intuitive steps. But once I researched it, I found that as with many things Facebook, things have changed. And in this instance, the way to stop these notifications is now actually quite easy!

The method to stop these notifications is so simple that I almost felt embarrassed for not already knowing this. But I stopped to realize that most people miss this as well and I think I know why. Ironically, if you don’t pay attention to the updates, which most people don’t, you won’t see how to hide them! A button labeled “Hide” appears to the right side of all Facebook updates – but only if you move your mouse over the update! Click the hide button and a few more buttons will appear, giving you the choice to hide that friend, hide the app, or cancel. Assuming you only want to hide the updates from that app, click the corresponding button. Now all updates from that app, regardless of which friend it comes from, will be hidden. Of course if you click the hide friend button, you won’t see any updates from that friend at all. But that’s just not being very friendly, is it?

Repeat this procedure for each app update that you see in your news feed and very soon you will have conquered all the common apps that send out numerous updates. Of course, over time new apps will be created that will start sending you updates, but all you need to do is hide the first update you see and that app will be taken care of as well.

Once I did this to only a handful of apps, I was amazed at how much cleaner my news feed became. It felt like I had control over my Facebook again. Unfortunately, this trick does not seem to transfer to Facebook on mobile devices. I’m sure at some point, this will be fixed as well, so stay tuned.

If you have a technology question, ask me and I will feature it in a future newsletter!