Facebook’s almighty news feed is split into two parts…sort of. Today, it’s announcing two feeds that will now be found in iOS and Android apps. Home is the new name for the tab you see when you first open the app, and it’s designed for algorithm-based discovery with Reels, Stories, and other personalized content. Then there’s a brand new tab, containing recent posts from friends, groups, Facebook pages, and favourites, with no “suggested for you” posts in sight.
Both tabs can be accessed from the iOS and Android versions of the Facebook app, as today they will start appearing in the shortcut bar. Meta’s press release says that the contents of this bar are designed to change based on which tabs users spend the most time on, but tabs can be pinned to ensure their locations don’t change. The company expects the updates to be rolled out globally within the next week.
“One of the most requested features on Facebook is making sure people don’t miss out on friends’ posts,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, wrote in a Facebook post announcing the changes. So today we’re launching a Feeds tab where you can see posts from your friends, groups, Pages and more separately in chronological order. The app will still open to display a custom feed on the Home tab, where our discovery engine will recommend content we think you’ll be most interested in But the Feeds tab will give you a way to further customize and control your experience.”
Splitting the feed like this appears to be an attempt to balance Meta’s desire for Facebook to become more like TikTok — which recommends content from its platform based on what its algorithms think you might be interested in — and its historical approach of focusing on the accounts and pages it follows. people already. But making the newly renamed home page default to where Facebook’s Meta priorities lie, and Meta says the feed is set to become a “more discovery engine” from now on.
It is important to note that the Home tab will still display posts from friends and family, but it will be surrounded by recommendations chosen by the machine learning ranking system. There will also be ads in the feed tab. So it seems that there is still some overlap between the two.
The move shows how much Facebook’s core news feed has changed over the years as it has had to respond to emerging trends from other social media players. And in 2022, the main threat is TikTok. Meta’s attempt to more or less clone the social media platform with Lasso shutting down after just 18 months, and the company’s focus later shifting to Instagram’s Reels to capitalize on the popularity of the short video format.
But the danger from TikTok has not abated. Facebook, the company’s primary social media platform, lost daily users for the first time in the last quarter of 2021, and while the platform returned to growth in the first quarter of this year, it’s now growing more slowly than ever as TikTok feeds on Time spent on both that and Instagram. With today’s changes, Facebook is paving the way to embrace recommended algorithms more than ever.