Facebook will start organizing users’ friends into smaller groups to make it easier to share photos, posts and links.

Facebook has long allowed users to group their friends into categories. But most people have not used those capabilities.

Beginning Wednesday, Facebook will automatically group many of your friends based on whether they live near you, went to your school or work with you. Then, you can read posts or share updates with specific groups instead of dozens, or hundreds, of “friends” at a time. Called “smart lists,” the feature is optional to use.

“Lists have existed for several years, but you’ve told us how time-consuming it is to organize lists for different parts of your life and keep them up to date,” wrote Facebook’s Blake Ross in a blog.

“To make lists incredibly easy and even more useful, we’re announcing three improvements:

“Smart lists – You’ll see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you–like your work, school, family and city.

“Close Friends and Acquaintances lists – You can see your best friends’ photos and posts in one place, and see less from people you’re not as close to.

“Better suggestions – You can add the right friends to your lists without a lot of effort.”

You can also create your own groups. For example, you can list a dozen or so “close friends” and see more of their updates than those in your list of “acquaintances.”

Read the blog about the changes here.

Get the latest news alerts: Follow WRAL Tech Wire at Twitter.