Facebook is testing a new version of News Feed that will separate commercial content and posts from friends and family.  The company is running this test in six small countries- Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka. In a blog, the social network explained that it is testing its feed by splitting it into two:

  • One feed will be dedicated space for updates and posts from friends and family,
  • And another separate space, called Explore, with posts and updates from pages.

Why is Facebook doing this? The social network giant said that the goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content.

Facebook rolled out Explore globally last week on desktops as well. The feed can be found in the more section. The feed basically consists of posts, articles, photos, and videos from sources you have followed such as  Pages or posts from news media organizations. Except for these six countries, Explore has been rolled out as a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos automatically customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them.

Clarifications from Facebook

Facebook’s experiment erupted a panic and speculation that publishers and pages will have to pay to get into News Feed dedicated to friends and family. On this, the blog, that it does not plan to roll this test or this feature globally. “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,” it added.

Shashi adds: It’s worth noting that Facebook had mentioned that maxed out how many ads it can squeeze into people’s news feeds in the March quarter. It added that it aggressively looking to push ads on its other properties and monetize them instead. Though the company said that it will not be charging publishers and pages extra for distribution, one may never know when Facebook decides to change its mind.