Facebook drops newsfeed experiment after it promoted fake news

by Dominic Parks March 3, 2018, 0:32
Facebook drops newsfeed experiment after it promoted fake news

Test drew major criticism from publishers in countries like Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia.

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

The bad news for businesses is that Mosseri confirmed Facebook's will to show more content from friends and families and less from brands and publishers.

According to Facebook, user surveys reveal people are "less satisfied" with the posts they're seeing, and having two feeds failed to help them better connect with friends and family.

U.S. digital publisher Little Things became the first major casualty of the algorithm change this week, after a "catastrophic" and sudden drop in organic and influencer traffic of more than 75 per cent.

The original intent of the dual feed system was to give people more content from family and friends.

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The firm rolled out the Explore Feed this past October in effort to separate content from your friends and family, and posts from Pages.

Today, we're ending one of those tests: "the Explore Feed", the company has said it its blog post. Why would people want to toggle between different feeds? Facebook will also be discontinuing the Explore Feed bookmark feature worldwide.

The experiment - which had been labelled as "downright Orwellian" - saw professional news posts removed from users' timelines but faced a huge backlash from media organisations, all of whom felt that cutting off residents from legitimate news had the potential to be immensely damaging. Explore has already been partially superseded by newer alterations to the News Feed.

To be clear, this in no way impacts changes to the News Feed announced last month.

"[The] 60 biggest Slovak media pages have four times fewer interactions (likes, comments, shares) since the test", Struhárik observed, analysing reports from CloudTangle (a social monitoring company owned by Facebook).

The half dozen guinea pig nations were particularly put out by the high-handed way Facebook had intervened without any prior consultation or advance warning, prompting Mosseri to make an additional pledge to "update the way we evaluate where to test new products, and how we communicate about them".

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