The move comes not long after rival Snapchat began tweaking a similar feature on its own platform.
Facebook is testing a new feature displaying curated content from publishers called Collections, which would enable publishers to highlight content in users’ news feeds regardless of how many likes and shares the content had received, BI reports, citing sources familiar with the tests.
Posts from Collections would appear based on the source and the users’ own content preferences, although it’s unclear how much real estate content Collections would receive compared to other news feed content.
By creating a dedicated channel for publishers’ content within the news feed, Facebook is hoping publishers will begin creating original content for Collections, giving it an edge in the struggle for original content with other tech platforms. Collections would also give users a tool to help ensure that all the content in their news feed comes from reputable sources, thus combating the growing trend of fake news (at least for users who care to make the distinction).
The news that Facebook is testing Collections caps a tumultuous year for publishers on the world’s biggest social network. In June, for example, Facebook announced that it was reducing the amount of publisher content users see in their news feeds, with a new system prioritizing personal content over news and information. However, it also offered a new feature allowing users to send each other links to Instant Articles in its popular Messenger function.
However, Facebook isn’t the only one sending publishers mixed messages. As noted above, in October Snapchat also reshuffled the order in which it shows users content from their network to give greater priority to Stories from their friends, at the expense of Discover content from publishers.