Facebook has decided that separating publishers into their own News Feed is a bad idea
Facebook has decided itâs a bad idea to separate brandsâ and publishersâ posts from those that your friends and family share.
The social giant confirmed Thursday that it has ended a test of that concept it was running in six countries dating back to last fall.
The test removed content from publishers and businesses from the News Feed and put it inside a separate âExploreâ feed, creating a digital divide between your friends and brands. Publishers in those countries that rely on Facebook for traffic freaked out when users no longer saw publisher posts interspersed with stuff from their friends.
âPeople donât want two separate feeds,â wrote Adam Mosseri, the exec in charge of Facebookâs News Feed, in a blog post Thursday. âIn surveys, people told us they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didnât actually help them connect more with friends and family.â
When Mosseri spoke at Recodeâs Code Media conference in February, he said the test was âcostly,â and that Facebook wanted to run it once before deciding âdefinitively once and for allâ whether it worked or not.
It didnât. So Facebook is ending the test. It is also shutting down its âExploreâ tab, a section of the app where users could find public content from brands or publishers they didnât follow.
The test wasnât necessarily a waste â" Facebook learned people donât want two feeds! â" but the company h as also admitted that it wasnât handled very well.
âWe should have been more transparent and up front about [the test] ahead of it,â said Campbell Brown, Facebookâs head of news partnerships, onstage with Mosseri at Code Media. â[Publishers] totally freaked out, rightly so, because they didnât understand what we were doing or trying to get at.â
The sentiment was echoed in Thursdayâs blog post from Mosseri. âWe also received feedback that we made it harder for people in the test countries to access important information, and that we didnât communicate the test clearly,â he wrote. âWeâre acting on this feedback by updating the way we evaluate where to test new products, and how we communicate about them.â
Facebook routinely makes changes to its News Feed to show users more (or less) of specific types of content, like live video. Its most recent News Feed update had a similar purpose to the now-defunct test: The change w as made to show people more stuff from their friends and family, and less from brands and publishers.
That is still the priority, but separating the two groups completely isnât the way to accomplish that.
Ironically, that total separation of friend stuff from publisher stuff is the premise of Snapchatâs redesign, the same redesign that people are freaking out about. Facebook found that strategy doesnât work. Itâll be worth watching to see if Snapchat decides the same.recode_divider
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