Facebook Testing Changes to News Feed

April 16, 2016

9:13 am

Whenever Facebook rolls out a significant change to their design, people freak out. Getting rid of the “is” was enough to start World War III, if anyone remembers correctly. But this adherence to change is what has kept Facebook at the top of the charts for nearly a decade, unlike other companies that suffered from a severe lack of modification. Remember MySpace? Nobody else does either. That’s why Facebook’s testing of an altered news feed is hardly surprising.

The slow release became apparent Friday morning with the release of multiple screenshots on Twitter of the new look. Apparently, users will be able to categorize their news feed into different topics – like “World & US”, “Sports” and “Food”. You can even pick which ones you like most so you’ll see more of what you like. Don’t worry, the original news feed function is still available, so there is no need to throw your phone out the window.

“People have told us they’d like options to see more stories on Facebook around specific topics they’re interested in,” said a Facebook spokesperson in an email to Mashable. “So we have been testing a few feeds for people to view more and different stories from people and Pages based on topic areas.”

Facebook users are delighted and aghast, unapologetically at the same time. While the new design does provide users with a wide range of content, it is, most noticeably, not attached to any of their friends. News sources, tabloids and other content producers will have their own section in your news feed. And that’s pretty far off the mark for Facebook.

“There’s a lot more content now with multiple feeds, instead of one,” said Tom Critchlow, a marketing consultant who posted images of the revamped feed to Twitter, told Mashable. “As for the news and sports feeds, they have posts from my friends too and it feels very much more like a news aggregator rather than a personal space.”

If this idea gets you excited for the future of Facebook, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. There is a real possibility this limited roll-out will remain nothing more than a pipe dream. Facebook has a long history of testing design changes without pulling the trigger. But while the intrusion of outsiders on my news feed is a bit scary, it’s hard not to admit that the prospect of an organized news feed is a pretty attractive one.

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Conor is a writer, comedian and world-renowned sweetheart. As the Senior Writer at Tech.Co, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host Startup Night at SXSW and the Funding Q&A at Innovate! and Celebrate, posing questions to notable tech minds from around the world. In his spare time, he thinks about how to properly pronounce the word "colloquially." Conor is the Senior Writer at Tech.Co. You can email him at conor@tech.co.

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