Facebook ends the Explore Feed less than 4 months after its launch

AP FILE

After learning that users didn't like two separate News Feeds, one for family/friends and another for commercial pages, Facebook has ended its Explore Feed test. When news about the split news feed first surfaced, it sparked concerns about the growing power of the social media giant, and how publishers would be affected.

In October, secondary news feed tests were rolled out in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Bolivia, Cambodia, Serbia, and Slovakia.

In a statement to the Guardian, Facebook said: "People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages".

An experiment in six countries gave Facebook users two different news feeds
An experiment in six countries gave Facebook users two different news feeds

That's why in October, the company started trialling an "Explore Feed" tab exclusively dedicated to news posts - leaving the normal News Feed to be filled with baby pictures and snaps of your friend's lasagne.

Users were only able to see posts from publishers in a separate feed, or in the main feed if the brand paid for the privilege.

On Thursday, Mosseri said those recent changes will address the needs of users more than the Explore Feed test.

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Mosseri said the company had also "received feedback that we made it harder for people in the test countries to access important information, and that we didn't communicate the test clearly".

"You gave us our answer: People don't want two separate feeds", Mossesri said in a blog post. And according to some users in the test markets, few had any idea what had happened to their News Feed, or how to best utilize Explore.

We've asked Facebook for comment and will update this article with any response. Others don't and we drop them.

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However, the change went down badly; engagement with Facebook pages tumbled, and its implementation without consultation with stakeholders was described as "downright Orwellian". He said the news feed will shift its focus to personal posts from family and friends, and away from viral videos and news stories.

The indictment mentioned Facebook and Instagram 41 times, underscoring how heavily the Russian effort relied on social media to promote incorrect news and divisive content. Some users were upset that the company failed to adequately communicate the test to them, and so it will work on addressing that problem with future design tweaks.

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