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Facebook ends alternative News Feed experiment
03 March 2018, 05:05 | Harold Aguilar
The Washington Post Getty Images
The social media site had been looking into the possibility of splitting posts from proper news sources off into a separate section called the Explore Feed, and had been trialing the system in six small countries.
The feed was being tested in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala and Cambodia.
"People told us they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn't actually help them connect more with friends and family", Mosseri said.
A Slovakian journalist reported a dramatic drop in organic reach to news websites in his country, while a Cambodian freelancer said Facebook was playing a "dangerous game with free expression" as news outlets and NGOs struggled to reach people with timely information.
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".
This strategy got underway in October after Facebook launched a separate "explore" feed in affected countries, drawing immediate condemnation from the news organisations and businesses affected.
When Facebook first announced the test in October, analysts questioned the company's logic.
Facebook is far from immune to tinkering with its News Feed, but its recent experiments has been deemed a complete failure.
MPs and officials in the USA have questioned the site, along with other internet giants such as Google and Twitter, over their policing of such content as well as the use of their platforms to create political discourse. Which is what Facebook says its users actually want. News sites, brands, followed pages and everything in between was essentially relegated to this subsection that few people bothered to explore.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been making big changes to the news feed recently. "Some of these changes - like Reactions, Live Video, and GIFs - work well and go on to become globally available", explained Facebook's head of news feed, Adam Mosseri (yes that's his actual title) in a blog post. It also says users complained it was harder to access important information and that Facebook didn't clearly communicate the fact that it was a test.
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