Facebook is experimenting with a new feature that shows users the updates they might have missed otherwise. Mashable was the first to spot a box marked “What friends are talking about,” which is functional on Facebook’s Android app. It lists posts from friends in a single box at the top of the news feed.
Facebook wants users to talk more
Since the feature is in the experimental stage, it is accessible only for a very few users. Whether a person has been chosen or not can be known only by checking their account on the app. For the past several months, the company has been changing news feeds hoping to bring status updates that draw users’ interest closer to the top.
Facebook announced this summer that it would give higher priority to posts from family and friends over content from brands, but it can’t be said for sure if this new module is related to that announcement.
It is a good attempt from the company to encourage people to interact with one another. The feature makes it possible for users to see more from friends on their screen as it piles updates into smaller chunks. Essentially, this provides users with an opportunity to comment on something without scrolling, notes Mashable.
Depending more on algorithms
PCProfessionale reported that it remains to be seen if the new algorithm does or doesn’t turn into a valuable tool. More importantly, if it is capable of improving and increasing the involvement of individual users, it will eventually lead to benefits for the company.
Recently, the company rolled out a more automated version of its trending feature. The company believes that higher reliance on software will allow the trending feature to cover a wider scale and at the same time reduce the risk of personal bias that could manipulate the list of trending topics.
Facebook has too many major rivals in the tech world with whom it needs to keep up, and hence, it keeps introducing innovative features. Facebook is focusing more now on getting people talk to one another as it recently ceded ground to Snapchat and Instagram (its own product).
Facebook often tests new features, but there is no surety that they will end being released publicly. Mashable did not get any response from Facebook to its request for additional details.
In premarket trading today, Facebook shares were in the green. Year to date, the stock is up more than 19%, while in the last year, it is up more than 43%.