Facebook ends 'Orwellian' news feed experiment

04 March, 2018, 04:56 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • News Feed FYI Ending the Explore Feed Test

After learning that users didn't like two separate News Feeds, one for family/friends and another for commercial pages, Facebook has ended its Explore Feed test.

The test began in October 2017 and took place in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka.

The Facebook news feed head continued that, in surveys, people told Facebook they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn't actually help them connect more with friends and family.

Facebook is far from immune to tinkering with its News Feed, but its recent experiments has been deemed a complete failure.

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"Many people told me they thought that if we could turn down the temperature on the more divisive issues and instead focus on concrete local issues, then we'd all make more progress together", he said.

However, the change went down badly; engagement with Facebook pages tumbled, and its implementation without consultation with stakeholders was described as "downright Orwellian". Going forwards, posts from friends and family members will be prioritised above content from Pages. "People don't want two separate feeds".

U.S. digital publisher Little Things became the first major casualty of the algorithm change this week, after a "catastrophic" and sudden drop in organic and influencer traffic of more than 75 per cent.

Facebook's war on fake news will continue however: the company has already culled 20% of media posts from News Feeds this year.

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

Mosseri wrote, "You gave us our answer: People don't want two separate feeds". Effectively, it's a second-tier News Feed that Facebook could monetize.

The bad news for businesses is that Mosseri confirmed Facebook's will to show more content from friends and families and less from brands and publishers. Although this could also be blamed on how the company chose to roll out the change.

While it didn't directly address the concerns raised by journalists, Facebook did say "we concluded that Explore isn't an effective way for people to discover new content on Facebook". Facebook regularly trials new features by launching them to a small selection of users.

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