Facebook finished testing the splitting its signature News Feed into two, an idea shook how people consumed news in the six countries where it took place and added to concern about the social media company’s power.
News organizations from countries such as Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bolivia, Guatamela, and Serbia had stated that they were hit on the blind side by the experiment test when it started in October and complained that it had led to a shocking rise in misinformation.
Two-News Feed Test
The test created two streaming series of posts. One was focused on photos and other updates from friends and family, and a second was called an “explore feed”. It was dedicated to material from Facebook pages that the user had liked, such as media outlets or sports teams.
The social media network decided to put an end to the test and keep one feed because people told the company in surveys they did not like the change, Adam Mosseri, head of the News Feed at Facebook, said in a statement.
“In surveys, 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.
“We 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.”
Mosseri said Facebook would, in response, look over how it tests product changes although he did not say how. A Facebook representative did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.
“I hope Facebook will have more interest in what is happening inside its test countries,” Slovakian journalist Filip Struhárik, who had earlier criticized the test, said on Twitter on Thursday.
Struhárik said news media websites are stronger now by not depending on Facebook for traffic, and he expects traffic from Facebook to fall further down the road because of other changes to the News Feed that do not put an emphasis on media overall.
In Cambodia, media outlets welcomed the news that Facebook had ended the test.
Facebook has become an ever critical platform for political news in Cambodia after some media outlets critical of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen were forced to shut.
Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for 33 years, has forced the closure of media outlets and locked up government critics in jail following a crackdown ahead of a general election set for July 29.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has revealed few changes to the Facebook News Feed in the past two months to fight scandal and prioritize posts from friends and family.
The world’s largest social network and its competitors are on the spot. It is under pressure from users and government authorities to make their services less addictive and to stop the spread of false news stories and hoaxes.
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