Skip to main content

Facebook doubles down on algorithms in the main feed

Facebook doubles down on algorithms in the main feed

/

While new Feeds tab will show chronological content from pages you actually follow

Share this story

The Home tab on the left versus the Feeds tab on the right.
The Home tab on the left versus the Feeds tab on the right.
Image: Meta

Facebook’s almighty News Feed is getting split in two… kind of. Today, it’s announcing two feeds that will now be found in its iOS and Android apps. Home is the new name for the tab you see when you first open the app and is designed for algorithm-based discovery with Reels, Stories, and other personalized content. Then there’s an entirely new Feeds tab, which contains recent posts from friends, groups, Facebook Pages, and favorites, with no “Suggested For You” posts in sight.

The two tabs will be accessible from both the iOS and Android versions of the Facebook app, where they will start to appear in the shortcut bar today. Meta’s press release says the contents of this bar are designed to change based on which tabs users spend the most time in, but tabs can be pinned to ensure their positions don’t change. The company expects the updates to be rolled out globally over the coming week. 

The Feeds tab shows recent posts from pages you follow.
The Feeds tab shows recent posts from pages you follow.
Image: Meta

“One of the most requested features for Facebook is to make sure people don’t miss friends’ posts,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post announcing the changes. “So today we’re launching a Feeds tab where you can see posts from your friends, groups, Pages and more separately in chronological order. The app will still open to a personalized feed on the Home tab, where our discovery engine will recommend the content we think you’ll care most about. But the Feeds tab will give you a way to customize and control your experience further.”

Splitting the feed like this appears to be an attempt to balance Meta’s desire for Facebook to become more like TikTok — which recommends content from across its platform based on what its algorithms think you might be interested in — and its historical approach of focusing on the accounts and pages that people actually follow. But making the newly renamed Home feed the default shows where Meta’s priorities for Facebook lie, and Meta says that the feed is set to become “more of a discovery engine” going forward. 

It’s important to note that the Home tab will still show posts from friends and family, but they’ll be surrounded by recommendations chosen by a machine learning ranking system. There’ll also still be ads in the Feed tab. So it sounds like there’ll still be some overlap between the two.

The move shows off just how much Facebook’s core News Feed has changed over the years as it’s had to respond to emerging trends from other social media players. And, in 2022, the major threat is TikTok. Meta’s attempt to more or less directly clone the social media platform with Lasso shut down after just 18 months, and the company’s focus has subsequently shifted to Instagram’s Reels to capitalize on the popularity of the short-form video format. 

But the danger from TikTok has not abated. Facebook, the company’s core social media platform, actually lost daily users for the first time in the last quarter of 2021, and although the platform returned to growth in the first quarter of this year, it’s now growing slower than ever as TikTok eats into the time spent on both it and Instagram. With today’s changes, Facebook is paving the way for its embrace of algorithmically recommended feeds more than ever.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 10 minutes ago The tablet didn’t call that play by itself

R
External Link
Russell Brandom10 minutes ago
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 19 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.


E
External Link
Emma Roth26 minutes ago
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.


A
External Link
Andrew J. HawkinsAn hour ago
Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg. Guests were treated to a champagne and lobster lunch, but also were left wondering why none of VinFast’s machinery was working. They even got to visit the company’s real estate holdings outside Hanoi, where they were greeted by empty swimming pools, dusty construction equipment, and a library devoid of books.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
J
James VincentAn hour ago
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.


Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
J
The Verge
James VincentTwo hours ago
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.


E
External Link
Elizabeth LopattoTwo hours ago
Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.


R
The Verge
Richard LawlerTwo hours ago
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.


D
David Pierce12:54 PM UTC
Thousands and thousands of reasons people love Android.

“Android fans, what are the primary reasons why you will never ever switch to an iPhone?” That question led to almost 30,000 comments so far, and was for a while the most popular thing on Reddit. It’s a totally fascinating peek into the platform wars, and I’ve spent way too much time reading through it. I also laughed hard at “I can turn my text bubbles to any color I like.”


T
Thomas Ricker10:44 AM UTC
The Simpsons pays tribute to Chrome’s dino game.

Season 34 of The Simpsons kicked off on Sunday night with an opening credits “couch gag” based on the offline dino game from Google’s Chrome browser. Cactus, cactus, couch, d’oh! Perfect.


T
Youtube
Thomas Ricker7:29 AM UTC
Table breaks before Apple Watch Ultra’s sapphire glass.

”It’s the most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” said Apple at the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra (read The Verge review here). YouTuber TechRax put that claim to the test with a series of drop, scratch, and hammer tests. Takeaways: the titanium case will scratch with enough abuse, and that flat sapphire front crystal is tough — tougher than the table which cracks before the Ultra fails — but not indestructible.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.