Just yesterday, I published my disconnected Facebook status. Then I found a new article stating that Facebook, after many years, is finally allowing a fully chronological feed for just the people you actually follow, like your in-real-life friends! Though I plan to stay off the social media site, this development is good and, dare I say, promising. Well, no, I won’t go that far.
Just one month ago, I published how Facebook’s main (and then only) feed was getting much worse because it broke away from its roots. Instead of showing you content from those whom you follow, it was starting to show and prioritize stuff from outside sources (discovery), meaning not your friends. How is that social? Well, it seems Facebook decided they’d better allow for both.
From The Verge, it’s said that Facebook will have two tabs in the mobile app (so this new feature may not appear on the desktop web browser) featuring different types of “newsfeeds.”
The default is the “Home” tab for the algorithm-based feed, which surfaces content from anywhere, marketed as a place or way to discover new stuff “it” (the A.I.) thinks you like/might like/should like and/or what Facebook wants you to like and/or stay engaged with or hooked on as much as possible. Also: ads.
The new (but not novel) “Feeds” tab is for what people actually have wanted all along, to see everything from everyone they friend or follow. It’s organized into types for Friends, Pages, Groups, etc. So if you want to only see what your friends post, you can and will, in reverse chrono order, as if it were a sensible blog or something. Also: still ads.
So The Verge points out that this is Facebook’s attempt at keeping people engaged while defending against Tik-Tok’s popularity. To me it sounds like Facebook is so afraid that Tik-Tok is eating its lunch that it is finally resorting to such “drastic” measures as simply making a chronological feed of just people you follow. You know, giving “users” what they actually want in order to keep them happy and on the site. What a winning strategy.
Yet this sounds more like the way YouTube is set up. There, the “home” feed is mostly full of videos the algorithm thinks you’ll like based on your watch history and such. It also sometimes shows new suggestions or other new or different stuff for discovery. In addition, there’s a “tab” or link for all the channels you subscribe (follow) to where you can see all the latest (chronological) videos from them.
I think this approach by Facebook is smart and long overdue. No matter what site you’re on, it seems best to have a discovery section for new yet similar or related (relevant) content the service thinks you want in order to keep “users” engaged and delighted. And it’s also great to have a section for the content you know you want based on who or what you choose to follow, whether it’s a person, a group, a channel, or a topic.
That’s my hot take. Facebook’s new “Feeds” is a surprising development, one I hope sticks around long-term. If I ever, for some reason, resume some Facebook interaction, I’ll look forward to this. But this alone isn’t going to get me back on the site.
What do you think of the new Facebook “Feeds” feature? Will it increase your use of the app on your phone?