Facebook mobile app users will now never miss a post, even if they’re offline, underground, in the air, or otherwise out of reach. The company announced today that it’s altering its app’s News Feed so users will still see new posts while they’re in poorly connected areas. They’ll also be able to write comments, which will post once they’ve reconnected, Facebook wrote in a blog post. "These changes will help anyone who is on a poor internet connection — even those whose network connectivity is generally good but who have intermittent connections in places like subways and tunnels, or at large events," the company wrote.
Users will now never miss a post
As far as the News Feed, Facebook said it’ll log the stories a user has already downloaded and not yet viewed. When users go offline, the app will display those posts based on Facebook's relevance algorithm. When they come back online, their News Feeds will automatically receive new stories from Facebook’s server, which will display as they would have normally. The app takes the already downloaded but unread posts into account upon startup and ranks them with new stories as the News Feed is refreshed or scrolled through. The company said it’s also going to test a feature that allows the app to retrieve new stories throughout the day while users are on a good connection.
Users have always been able to like and share posts while offline, but they’ll now also be able to cue up comments for when they come back online. Once they've reconnected, the comments will automatically post. This feature, as well as the News Feed changes, will be tested and rolled out slowly, the company said.
Much of this growth can be attributed to Facebook itself
Facebook specifically cited emerging markets and people "coming online at a staggering rate" as a reason to update its app with these offline features. Of course, much of this growth can be attributed to Facebook itself. The company launched its internet.org project in 2013 with the goal of connecting growing communities around the world to the internet. Facebook brought its Internet.org app to India this past February, for instance, which gave people access to the social media platform, as well as other partner services. At the time of that release, Mark Zuckerberg wrote that Internet.org initiatives had brought more than 6 million people online who previously weren’t.