Facebook’s News Feed is most viewed section on the social platform and the company has always tried new ways to improve the Feed experience. In a new experiment currently being trialed in six countries -- Bolivia, Guatemala, Cambodia, Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka, Facebook is testing a new dual-feed setup that separates Page-generated posts from ads and posts from friends.
“We are testing having one dedicated space for people to keep up with their friends and family, and another separate space, called Explore, with posts from pages,” said Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, in a blog post.
It’s also important to keep in mind that this test in these six countries is different than the version of Explore that has been rolled out to most people. Outside of the above countries, Explore is a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos automatically customised for each person based on content that might be interesting to them.
While Explore includes content from relevant pages, posts from pages that people like or follow will continue to appear in News Feed.
The tests were started last week and encountered a huge drop in user engagement, from 60 per cent to 80 per cent. This sudden drop could bother both small and large publishers that heavily rely on Facebook traffic for business.
“Pages are seeing dramatic drops in organic reach. The reach of several Facebook pages fell on Thursday and Friday by two-thirds compared to previous days,” The Guardian quoted Slovakian journalist Filip Struhárik, as saying.
To further add credibility to that huge drop in number, it was confirmed by Facebook-owned social analytics service CrowdTangle, which reported that popular Slovakian Facebook Pages saw two-thirds to three-quarters reductions in their Facebook reach.
“The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content. There is no current plan to roll this out beyond these test countries or to charge pages on Facebook to pay for all their distribution in News Feed or Explore,” Mosseri added.
To make News Feed more conversational and easier to read and navigate, Facebook has also redesigned its News Feed to show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load, so they can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant. Users’ can now see where a link will take you before clicking on it.