Facebook U-turns on controversial change to its news feed

03 March, 2018, 00:33 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • Facebook drops newsfeed experiment after it promoted fake news

"Facebook has ditched a controversial feature that split users" news feeds in two - one with ads and original posts from friends, and another for content from publishers. However, users trialling the new capability were clear that they "don't want" two separate feeds.

In October, Facebook began testing Explore Feed with users in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Bolivia, Cambodia, Serbia and Slovakia. This resulted in what Quartz reporters had alternatively described as a "less-enticing mirror image of my regular News Feed", "the absolute dredges of the internet", and " a distillation of the worst parts of Facebook". Explore gave people a new feed of content to discover Pages and public figures they hadn't previously followed.

In what is nearly definitely a response to the slew of criticism thrown at social media companies for allowing so-called fake news ahead of USA and other elections to spread, Zuckerberg said he meant to focus on "important issues".

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Splitting the feed confused a lot of people, but it was publishers who were hit the hardest, with many experiencing a massive decrease in user engagement on the platform.

Describing it as his "personal challenge for 2018", the 33-year-old kazillionaire said the social network was making too many errors enforcing policies and preventing misuse of its tools. The new-look Snapchat keeps your friend content on one page and content from brands and celebrities on another.

Facebook is ending its short-lived (and misguided) experiment with the alternative news feed feature called "Explore".

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Now, the firm says it's discontinuing the Explore Feed bookmark this week for users all around the world.

At this time, however, the feed doesn't appear to include advertising.

"We concluded that Explore isn't an effective way for people to discover new content on Facebook", Mosseri wrote. "We didn't communicate the test clearly", Mosseri wrote about the media complaints. "Both of these tests provided us with valuable feedback that we will use to improve News Feed for everyone", the company has said.

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To be clear, this in no way impacts changes to the News Feed announced last month.


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