After adding controls for the types of updates in the news feed and the relative importance of individual friends, Facebook has introduced more clear controls over who appears in the main news feed: a check box labeled simply ‘Show in News Feed’. The new on-or-off option is available for both friends and the pages you liked, appearing for my account in both the desktop site (hover over a profile picture in the news feed, then click on the button on the lower right of the hover card) and in the mobile site (visit a friend’s profile and click on ‘Friends’ or ‘Liked’) – that’s where I discovered it earlier today. The controls for the types of updates displayed for a given friend have been moved in the same menu under the ‘Settings…’ entry.
By default, of course, new friends and pages are shown in the news feed, you have to remove them manually one by one if you want. I haven’t tested it that thoroughly, but I would guess that hidden friends or pages will still be shown in lists. Like other recent initiatives, it’s a move to reduce the noise on the main page, while at the same time providing users with less drastic options than removing those connections entirely.