Unfriending Facebook friends still leaves them subscribed to updates

We’ve just seen a tweet from @aalaap which suggests that even when you unfriend someone on Facebook they’ll still be subscribed to your updates, so we tried it out for ourselves and lo and behold we saw this message:

Facebook screenshot

Granted the person you’re unfriending will only still see your public updates which they could well go ahead and subscribe to anyway BUT it seems wrong that if you want someone off your friends list they’ll still see the things you write in their news feed. To get rid of them completely you have to REPORT them too, which sounds a little bit extreme if you’re just getting a bit sick of their new baby photos.

Really this isn’t that shocking at all, but it just shows how strange the whole subscribe dynamic still feels to regular Facebook users who are getting angry about this news on Twitter right now. Yes we see how subscribing is really useful for public figures, but when friends, subscribers, unfriending and unsubscribing mix it’s a melting pot of confusion and it’s definitely not been made very clear.

Becca Caddy

8 comments

  • I have unfriended  someone  who doesn't have Timeline but they are subscribed to my updates. How can I unsubscribe them?

  • I understand how if you have things set to PUBLIC that everyone will see them; however, I unfriended some people recently, and they are still able to see comments I make on other people’s public items (photos, links, etc). So even though I have my posts set to friends only, they can still see comments I’m posting, because other people/pages are set to public. The person you unfriended has to actively unsubscribe from your updates. Pretty ridiculous. I purged my friends list to get what I thought was more privacy. :-/

  • Thanks. This was on my mind today… How do I unfriend people but allow them to stay subscribed. I think it’s a great middle ground between my personal page and my fan page. People can continue to subscribe to me and I can have my “friends” and I can have my FANS.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Agree, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this and I’m sure everyone knows a public update is just that.

    BUT judging from the reaction on Twitter there’s too much confusion about the subscriber vs. friend dynamic and how things like unfriending affects subscribing. There’s been no explanation anywhere either which makes it even harder for the average user to get to grips with the new changes.

  • If you make your updates public, then they’re just that – public. Anyone can see them. If you’re posting stuff you don’t want non-friends to see, then make it only visible to ‘friends’.

    No change there then, surely?

    So if you’re doing that anyway, un-friending someone will prevent them seeing your friends-only posts, like before.

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