Facebook is currently testing out a change in the display of its news feed. The trail was conducted in 6 countries including Slovakia, Serbia, and Sri Lanka and was met with some interesting results.
The social media powerhouse is testing out a return to what Facebook’s news feed looked like when it started. User’s Reactions were tested when two newsfeeds were implemented with one newsfeed (the main feed) showing original posts by friends and the other showing promoted pages. However paid promotions would still remain on the newsfeed, but news from other pages would be filtered into the secondary feed.
The results of the test showed a severe drop in engagement from users and pages. A 80% to 60% drop in engagement occurred, showing that the separation of non-promoted news could be devastating to certain companies. Publisher’s such as Buzzfeed and Huffington Post, who rely heavily on dispersal of news through social media channels, would be hit the hardest. With a crippling drop in reach to users, these outlets may be forced to shut down.
On speaking about the test Facebook commented:“With all of the possible stories in each person’s feed, we always work to connect people with the posts they find most meaningful. 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.”
In an interview with The Guardian Matti Littunen, a senior research analyst at Enders Analysis stated that premium publishers have already been one stop ahead and cashed in on the profit of promoting on Facebook. Those companies have now eased up on utilizing the social media outlet.
The test is seen as failure, not because of its potential harm to publishers, but how boring Facebook’s newsfeed would become. Without NEWS, a NEWSFEED may reveal how uninteresting many friends can be.
In response to The Guardian’s article, Facebook stated: “We have no current plans to roll this out globally.”