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Facebook won’t move news into a separate feed after all

Facebook won’t move news into a separate feed after all


An experiment in six countries had the effect of promoting fake news, research showed

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facebook is ending an experiment in six countries that placed publisher content in a separate feed, the company said today. In six countries, Facebook has been placing posts from official pages in a separate feed called Explore, while limiting the main News Feed to posts from friends and family. But the experiment, which has been ongoing since October, did not achieve the desired result, the company said.

“People don’t want two separate feeds,” said Adam Mosseri, who runs the News Feed, in a blog post. “In surveys, people told us they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn’t actually help them connect more with friends and family.”

Facebook has made changes to the News Feed this year designed to promote more “meaningful interactions” between friends and family. As part of that, the company has reduced the number of news articles in the News Feed by about 20 percent.

“People don’t want two separate feeds.”

But the Explore feed test, while designed to promote those interactions, had a variety of unintended consequences. The New York Times reported last month that the feed promoted the spread of fake news by preventing journalists and authorities from placing stories that debunked hoaxes into the News Feed.

Publishers are likely to breathe a sigh of relief over today’s news. While the amount of traffic that publishers receive from Facebook has been in free fall for more than a year, news outlets in the six countries where Facebook tested the Explore feed reported drops of an additional 30 percent or more.

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