Facebook is testing an alternative newsfeed – one that consists of posts, articles, photos and videos from sources you haven’t followed, like Facebook Pages or posts news media organizations, according to a new report by Techcrunch.
The new news feed option is identifiable by a rock ship icon, which might appear either at the top of the screen or the bottom, depending on whether the user is on iOS or Android.
Facebook has been testing the new feature for several weeks now, though it seems to be arriving and disappearing on some people’s apps. The TechCrunch report claims that the new feed was limited to Android beta users, while earlier experiments on iOS saw the feature labeled “Explore”.
The new newsfeed experiment is being carried out across the world. A Facebook spokesperson was quoted in The Drum: “We are testing a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them. We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore new content they haven’t connected with yet.”
— alice baraldi (@alice_ba) February 26, 2017
During the December 2016 earnings call, Facebook told investors that it has finally maximized ad loads — or the volume of ads that it can show each user before totally ruining their user experience. A second newsfeed will free up more space to put up ads.
With fewer places to show ads and with the growing influence of Snapchat, Facebook has been trying every trick in the book, including copying Snapchat’s stories formats, to create more space to put up ads. Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out stories features on its messenger app and followed it up with Snapchat-like filters.