Its grand (but still vague) ambitions for a metaverse aside, Meta still has plenty of plans for its renowned social media network, Facebook. As of late, we’ve seen an abundance of new features added to the platform as part of the company’s efforts to keep things relevant for new and existing users alike. Despite this, a recent report by The Verge is suggesting something even more drastic is in the works: a major overhaul to its feed design.
According to an internal memo from Meta executive Tom Alison that was somehow obtained by the publication, the goal of this redesign is to transform Facebook’s Feed (formerly News Feed) into a “Discovery Engine” which would place heavy emphasis on promoting suggested content and Reels from “unconnected” creators to its users. Alison revealed that this would have its feed functioning similarly to TikTok – a platform that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other company executives have made known to be Meta’s primary competitor.
The feed on Facebook will be “a more visual, video-heavy experience with clearer prompts to direct message friends to a post,” The Verge added. The main tab will become a mix of Stories and Reels at the top, followed by posts recommended by its so-called Discovery Engine which are picked from both the social media network itself and Meta’s multimedia-focused sharing platform, Instagram.
Interestingly enough, it is also said that Meta is also working on placing a user’s Messenger inbox at the top right of the Facebook app, making messaging even more prominent. If true, this would see the return of the private messenger to its parent platform’s app, eight years after Meta’s decision to separate it as a standalone service.
This new emphasis on Stories, Reels and suggested content on Facebook would also result in users seeing fewer posts from friends and family in their feeds – a change that might not sit well with a good number of users. In an interview with The Verge, Alison clarified that users have been using Stories and private messaging tied to Reels as means of staying in touch with friends and family on the platform.
“What we’re really finding is that people want to connect over content,” he said. “And so a lot of where we’re going with Facebook is trying to bring you the best content that’s going to really cater to your interests, but then making it super easy to share that and discuss and connect with other people in your network over that.”
It is not known as to when we’re expected to see this drastic redesign on Facebook. That being said, similar efforts can already be seen on Meta’s other social media platform Instagram, which itself has been positioned as the company’s direct competitor to rivals such as TikTok and Snapchat.
Of course, as most of us are already aware, this isn’t the first time Meta has reworked Facebook’s feed to favour suggested content over a chronological format. In fact, its current iteration utilises the platform’s algorithm, which prioritises on showing popular posts to users, especially from the pages that they are following.
Fortunately, users can still enjoy a chronological Facebook feed by switching to the Most Recent option, which is cunningly hidden in the left-hand menu on desktop. You can also achieve this on the mobile app version by selecting the Feeds option from the shortcuts bar at the bottom of the screen. However, there isn’t a way for you to set this mode as the default preference for your feed on either platform.
(Source: The Verge)
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