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Facebook algorithms

Facebook introduces secret news feed

Facebook algorithms

Facebook introduces secret news feed

Social networking phenomenon Facebook has built an alternative news feed for its users to peruse.

The feed is hidden away from the regular news feed and appears in the side menu of both the apps and desktop version of the social network. The feed is known as the Explore Feed, and is represented by a rocket icon.

The main difference between the main feed and the Explore feed is that instead of showing you predominantly updates from friends and pages the user likes, the Explore feed shows content from sources that the user is not connected to. It is essentially a separate news feed showing updates the Facebook thinks the user will be interested in.

The feed will be different for each user, and the content that appears in this news feed probably will not have cropped up in the regular news feed. It has been in testing since April this year and has finally been rolled out on a worldwide basis.

At the time of testing, a spokesperson from Facebook said that the Explore feed is a complementary news feed filled with popular photos, videos and other content that is customised for each user based on what their interests are.

This could be seen as a way for Facebook to try and get users to engage more with both the site itself and other users on the network. The Explore feed is already active and users can investigate it straightaway.

Furthermore, Facebook also plans to change the order in which users can view their notifications. It has always been the case that notifications are fed to users in chronological order. However, as it has done with most of the site already, Facebook plans to predict which notifications users will want to see and prioritise these, placing them at the top of the notifications section.

It is not clear how Facebook’s algorithms plan to decide which notification is more relevant to the user than others.

As well as switching around the order of the notifications, Facebook has already started to split notifications into two sections: Earlier and New. This is something that some users will have already noticed. Any new notifications will appear at the top, while older ones will appear below in the separate Earlier section.

Both notification changes are in the process of being rolled out on all versions of the site, and are sure to split opinion like the similar changes to the news feed did. Some users will feel that some notifications could get lost, whilst others may prefer the more important ones being highlighted.

Alan Littler

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