​Facebook for iPad's new sidebar wants you to play more games

Love Facebook, but hate your friends' endless invitations to play Farmville? You might not like the social network's latest iPad update. According to the Facebook developer blog, the company is testing out a new sidebar that offers users in landscape mode a sampling of trending topics, videos and other content. Most of this data is fairly personalized -- consisting of upcoming birthdays, events, holidays and recently played games, but there's also a special section reserved for advertising "popular" Facebook games. Fortunately, you aren't guaranteed to see the latter element right away: the column's layout is out based on individual use. If you don't play Facebook games, you might not see advertisements for them.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, the app will always keep items like birthdays or events up top, but everything else in the column moves around based on how you use the social network. If you watch a lot of video, for instance, you'll see a lot of trending videos on the top of the sidebar; if you're addicted to Facebook games the column will be flush with recently played titles and recommendations. Content irrelevant to your interests might stick around though -- Facebook says non-gamers can expect the "featured games" panel to live off-screen, available to users who scroll down to the bottom of the panel's display. The update is currently only available to a small percentage of test users, but Facebook plans for the sidebar to become a permeant facet of its iPad experience.