Facebook is testing a new feature which splits the existing News Feed into two. In a blog post on Monday, Facebook revealed that they are testing the new feature in select countries, which lets users see posts from their friends and family in their main News Feed. This feature moves other non-promoted posts from pages into a new category called Explore.
The testing is currently being conducted in six countries which include Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. Facebook clarifies that they are currently not planning to extend the test any further. The Facebook blog clarified that even though “some” have interpreted that the new feature will be rolled out globally, this is not the case.
Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed for Facebook said in the blog post, “The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content. We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further.” He further added, “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. Unfortunately, some have mistakenly made that interpretation — but that was not our intention.”
According to a report by Medium, after the new feature was implemented, it resulted in a 60 to 80 percent drop in organic reach. Filip Struhárik from Medium said, “Reach of several Facebook pages fell on Thursday and Friday by two-thirds compared to previous days.” He further added that “If you want your Facebook page posts to be seen in old newsfeed, you have to pay.”
The new Explore feed being tested is different from the regular Explore feed that users outside of above mentioned six countries observe. The current Explore feed displays popular articles, videos, and photos, customised according to a user’s interests.