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Facebook found out no one wants a split News Feed

It ended its Explore test after less-than-positive feedback.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
March 1, 2018
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Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Did you like the idea of Facebook splitting your News Feed into two? No? You're not the only one. Facebook has ended its Explore Feed test after user surveys indicated it wasn't popular. Explore was supposed to help you see more of your friends and family by sending Pages (such as companies and celebrities) to a separate feed, but users weren't happy with the results. They weren't as satisfied with the posts they did see, Facebook said, and it didn't actually help them connect with their social circle.

It won't surprise you to learn what Facebook is doing instead: the company is counting on its recent refocusing of the News Feed to please those who want to see more from their friends. The company is also planning to refine the tests themselves, doing more to both choose test areas and tell you what's happening with those experiments.

Facebook regularly conducts tests like this, and there's never a guarantee that a feature will make the cut. However, it's clear that this test was more important than most. The social network has been grappling with not just the split between public and private content, but also the rise of fake news. Any changes it made could potentially have far-reaching consequences, and tests like this let it gauge the effect without ruining its bottom line.

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