Facebook Scraps Explore Feed

To the delight of many publishers and Facebook users, the social network is scrapping its Explore Feed -- a News Feed experiment that separated professional posts from those of users’ friends and family.

Launched in six countries last October, the effort was inspired by requests for more posts from familiar faces, according to Adam Mosseri, head of News Feed at Facebook.

Mosseri notes in a new blog post: “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.”

Not all of Facebook’s recent News Feed changes have been unsuccessful.

“We think our recent changes to News Feed that prioritize meaningful social interactions better address the feedback we heard from people who said they want to see more from friends and family,” he noted.

By design, those changes have led to less public content in News Feed, like posts from businesses, brands and media.

Going forward, Facebook also plans to revise its practice of trying new features and designs in select markets. This comes as a result of criticism from users in the select market where the News Feed split was tested.

When Facebook first announced the test in October, analysts questioned the company’s logic.

“Excluding the publishers that Facebook consumers follow from the main feed will only serve to diminish the overall consumer experience … since consumers have come to view Facebook as their source of information about their family, friends, interests and the world at large,” Susan Bidel, senior analyst at Forrester, said at the time.

As part of its ongoing push for more “meaningful” content, Facebook also recently vowed to give greater preference to local news in users’ New Feeds.

In order to give users more control over their social experience, Facebook recently began testing a “down vote” button in conversation threads. In its current form, the test only lets users vote down comments in conversations that accompany posts -- not the posts. After down voting a comment, users are prompted to tell Facebook whether they found it to be “offensive,” “misleading” or “off topic.”

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