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Facebook ends experiment to take news out of users’ News Feed

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Facebook has ended its Explore News Feed trial which separated publishers’ posts from those of family and friends.

The social network ran a test last autumn in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, clearing the News Feed of everything but posts from friends and sponsored posts.

Users were only able to see posts from publishers in a separate feed, or in the main feed if the brand paid for the privilege.

A Slovakian journalist reported a dramatic drop in organic reach to news websites in his country, while a Cambodian freelancer said Facebook was playing a “dangerous game with free expression”.

In a blog post late last week, Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook’s News Feed wrote:

We constantly try out new features, design changes and ranking updates to understand how we can make Facebook better for everyone. Some of these changes—like Reactions, Live Video, and GIFs— work well and go on to become globally available. Others don’t and we drop them. Today, we’re ending one of those tests: the Explore Feed.

The Explore Feed was a trial response to consistent feedback we received from people over the past year who said they want to see more from friends and family in News Feed. The idea was to create a version of Facebook with two different News Feeds: one as a dedicated place with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated place for posts from Pages.

To understand if people might like two separate feeds, we started a test in October 2017 in six countries.

You gave us our answer: People don’t want two separate feeds. In surveys, people told us they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn’t actually help them connect more with friends and family.

Further down in his blog post, Mosseri added, “We concluded that Explore isn’t an effective way for people to discover new content on Facebook.”

Further Reading:

Press Gazette: Facebook ends experiment to take news out of users’ News Feed after trial in six countries

Facebook Newsroom: News Feed FYI – Ending the Explore Feed Test