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Thin the herd with Facebook's acquaintances tool

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Chances are you’re not really friends with half of your Facebook friends. And somehow, it seems that the ones you know the least are the ones bombarding your news feed with cheesy song lyrics, uncomfortable political messages, and endless game requests.

Now Facebook is providing you an alternative to unfriending these quasi-friends. With its new Acquaintance List Suggestion Manager, you can silence their clamor without completely cutting them out of your digital life.

Since November 2011, Facebook has given users the option to assign groups of friends to certain lists, like Family, Close Friends, and yes, Acquaintances. While the Acquaintance list itself is nothing new, the tool makes it easier than ever to banish people to that group. It's like a mass-editor for frenemies.

Facebook engineer Jonathan Coens introduced the Acquaintance tool on Wednesday in the Facebook newsroom. He assured users that it wouldn’t lead to awkward conversations with your newly labeled acquaintances:

“When you add friends to your Acquaintances list they won’t be unfriended or notified,” he wrote. “You’ll just see fewer of their posts in news feed.”

To use the tool, visit your Friend List page and click on Acquaintances. Finally, click “See All Suggestions” on the lower right-hand column. Alternately, you can also click the new “Too much stuff in your news feed?” link.

Maybe the tool will make your Facebook a little easier to bear. And if you find yourself missing the noise, you can always add people back to your Close Friends list, notification-free.

Photo by Adriano Gaspari