by Elizabeth Kricfalusi, Tech for Luddites
When I look at my web stats to see what's driving people to this blog, BY FAR the number one source is a Google search asking how to unhide friends on Facebook. I've written a couple of posts previously addressing this issue, but it seems like new bugs keep appearing on a regular basis. So I'm writing this one, which will be the one-stop-shop for all the latest info I have about the situation. I'm going to change previous posts so they direct people here.
If you just have no idea how it's supposed to work:
- On your home page, highlight the filter in the left-hand panel that says News Feed.
- Scroll to the bottom of the News Feed and click the link that says "Edit Options".
- In the box that appears, click the Add to News Feed link for everyone you want to unhide, then click Close.
Note: The reason I said to highlight the News Feed filter is because, if you had another filter highlighted, but your hidden friend(s) didn't fit that category, the Edit Options link would not appear. For example, if you selected the Photos filter, but your friend had never posted any photos, s/he would never have had an update in that list to unhide.
Update 08/24/09: Reader Julie sent me information about another way to solve this frustrating problem. I think this is a fairly recently feature addition that happened when they changed their All Friends page layout.
Update 11/22/09: It seems like the News Feed link no longer appears on my Friends page, so this step may not work. However, I'm leaving it here because it wouldn't be the first time that some Facebook users have options that others don't, so it wouldn't hurt to see if you have it.
- From the top nav bar, click Friends > All Friends.
- In the left-hand nav bar, under Lists, click News Feed.
- Click the Edit List button at the top of the page. This will pop up a window that lists all the friends, Pages, and applications that you've previously hidden. Simply click the Add to News Feed button beside any one that you want to add back.
I have high hopes that this might actually work for most people but, just in case it doesn't, there are more suggestions below.
Thanks so much for sharing, Julie! I'm sure many people will benefit from this information.
Now that all seems very straightforward but, unfortunately, not so much. Some people have reported that there is no Edit Options at the bottom of the page and others have had the option, but it didn't work, i.e. after clicking Add to News Feed, the person wasn't added back. If you have one of these problems, here are some things you can try to fix it.
- Double-check you've selected the News Feed filter from the left-hand panel and see if that brings it back.
- If you're using Internet Explorer, sometimes right after you hide or unhide someone's updates, that link disappears. But if you refresh your browser page, it may come back.
- Update 07/19/09: Reader Kim reports that when she clicked on the Older Posts link in the same bar, it brought back a link to "Hidden Friends," which brought her to a place where she could unhide people. I haven't been able to recreate this exact fix, but that doesn't mean anything, since most Facebook bugs and solutions are inconsistent for different users on different browsers.
- Another possible solution is a bit weird (and contradicts something I said above), but it worked in the past for a specific IE problem. Click one of the other filters in the left-hand panel and then try using the Edit Options link to add your friends back again.
- You can also try hiding another person's updates by mousing over one of them and clicking the Hide link that appears. After you do that, a box should appear that confirms the action and also provides a link to the Edit Options box.
WARNING: Someone tried this and the Edit Options DID come up, but it only had the name of the person she just hid on it, and when she clicked "Add to News Feed", it didn't add that person back. So if you try this, you might want to choose a friend you don't mind "losing" until the problem is solved.
- If the above doesn't work, try using a different browser, e.g. if you normally use IE, try Firefox, or vice-versa. If you don't have another browser on your computer, but have access to a different computer that does, log in to your FB account from there and unhide the updates (if possible). Then, when you go back to your computer and browser, they should be there again.
That's as much as I've been able to figure out so far. If you try all these steps and it still doesn't work, please let me know and I'll see if I can find any other possible solutions.
Alternatively, you can contact Facebook to see if they have a solution. I've done this with a couple of issues and you probably won't be surprised to learn that I haven't found them exactly responsive to date...
If you do find a solution to your problem that's not listed above, I'd really appreciate it if you'd pass it along to me so I can share it with other T4L readers.