Facebook ends split News Feed

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc on Thursday put an end to a test of splitting its signature News Feed into two, an idea that roiled how people consumed news in the six countries where it occurred and added to concern about Facebook’s power. The test created two streaming series of posts.
One was focused on photos and other updates from friends and family, and a second was called an “explore feed.”
It was dedicated to material from Facebook pages that the user had liked, such as media outlets or sports teams.
The social media network decided to end the test and maintain one feed because people told the company in surveys they did not like the change, Adam Mosseri, head of the News Feed at Facebook, said in a statement.
The test began in October and took place in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka.
It quickly reduced website traffic for smaller media outlets, some of which had built their audiences on Facebook clicks.
The test revealed a contradiction in Facebook’s relationship with publishers, whom the social network has also courted as a source of free content, said Leonardo Rodríguez, director of digital development at Guatemala’s Prensa Libre group.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled other changes to the Facebook News Feed in the past two months to fight sensationalism and prioritise posts from friends and family.
The world’s largest social network and its competitors are under pressure from users and government authorities to make their services less addictive and to stem the spread of false news stories and hoaxes.
“Facebook will have to think about how not to erode freedom of expression, but rather to somehow set limits and protect democratic processes and people,” said Dina Fernández, editorial board president of the Guatemalan website Soy502.
— Reuters