M - Facebook will end an experiment that removed professional news posts from users' News Feed in six countries, after months of criticism that the "downright Orwellian" move was increasing fake news and misinformation on the platform, The Guardian reported. When news about the split news feed first surfaced, it sparked concerns about the growing power of the social media giant, and how publishers would be affected.
The test began in October 2017 and took place in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka.
"You gave us our answer: People don't want two separate feeds".
According to Facebook, user surveys reveal people are "less satisfied" with the posts they're seeing, and having two feeds failed to help them better connect with friends and family.
Fortunately, it would seem that most Facebook users happen to like seeing news updates in their feeds as well; and the company has reverted these countries to the same posts that the rest of the world sees.
That's why in October, the company started trialling an "Explore Feed" tab exclusively dedicated to news posts - leaving the normal News Feed to be filled with baby pictures and snaps of your friend's lasagne. "People don't want two separate feeds".
These moves are separate to the global changes made to the News Feed in January that similarly look to reduce public content and promote "meaningful social interactions".
Facebook will be discontinuing the explore feed globally this week. "Both of these tests provided us with valuable feedback that we will use to improve News Feed for everyone", the company has said.
However, the change went down badly; engagement with Facebook pages tumbled, and its implementation without consultation with stakeholders was described as "downright Orwellian". "We're acting on this feedback by updating the way we evaluate where to test new products, and how we communicate about them". Explore is an exception though, with Facebook now announcing that it will be restoring the old behaviour for people who currently have access.
"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.