Today, Facebook revealed the latest update for its News Feed feature, something that CEO Mark Zuckeberg says that helps make you see and feel things that users will care about. He believes that it should be more like a personalized newspaper that allows you to not only give you the top stories in the news and also socially relevant and local content from friends and family around you.
The new design sets out to be focused on visual design. Zuckerber says it’s focusing on three things:
- Rich stories that are visually engaging
- Choice of different feeds and dig into any topic you want
- Mobile consistency that shares the same experience across different platforms.
Originally launched in 2006, the News Feed has become the central place where users find information about their friends.
Guessing about the future of News Feed
This news follows previous speculation regarding the future of Facebook’s News Feed — TechCrunch said that the social network would launch content-specific News Feeds, while also giving out bigger photos and ads. A clue to this stemmed from something Facebook CEO said during the company’s Q4 earnings call, as noted both by TechCrunch and Business Insider:
As our news feed design evolves to show richer kinds of stories, that opens up new opportunities to offer different kinds of ads as well…One of the product design principles that we’ve always had is we want the organic content to be of the same basic types of formats as paid content, right? So, historically, advertisers want really rich things like big pictures or videos and we haven’t provided those things historically. But, one of the things that we’ve done in the last year is you’ve seen the organic news feed product that consumers use moving towards bigger pictures, richer media and I think you’ll continue to see it go in that direction. And, I think that a lot of the success of products like Instagram is because of that. It’s a very immersive – even on a small screen, just – it’s a wonderful photo product.
Seeking to change
Last November, during one of Facebook’s periodic “whiteboarding” sessions, the company revealed some insights into why there are already two separate feeds for us to consume: the News Feed and the Pages Feed. The former is the place where users will go to find the most engaging content while the latter contains content that they may want to read from Pages that are liked or subscribed to. Expanding this line of thinking and revealing different News Feeds seems to be the natural progression for Facebook and its information.
Earlier this year, Facebook also tweaked the News Feed more by showing larger images and longer previews of links in an attempt to increase engagement.
Privacy concerns abound
It can probably go without saying that today’s announcement could rile up privacy advocates and there will be Facebook Groups and Pages popping up to rally users to quit Facebook over this privacy intrusion. Back in 2011 when the most recent News Feed changes were made, there were concerns that News Feed would give others access to the private posts of people users were not friends with, giving them the ability to Like a post or add comments to it.
Of course, Facebook has denied this claim, saying “Commenting or Liking a post doesn’t change its privacy setting. If you can’t see a post because of its privacy setting, it won’t show up to you anywhere on Facebook including in your News Feed or in your ticker.”