Facebook is testing potentially the biggest change to its news feed since it launched. The site is planning to split the feeds up into separate topics, according to screenshots that seem to show versions of the new look being tested.
Some users are already seeing their news feed being divided up into categories. Those can include topics like TV and movies, music or travel.
People who have the new feeds are instructed to add different subtopics into those particular feeds. So if a person has a “TV & Movies” feed, for instance, they’ll be given the option to tick all of the films they like and Facebook will show stories and posts that are about those topics.
The site gives people a huge number of choices for what they can add to those feeds. The options seems similar to Facebook’s ad preferences, which has highly specific different topics, and are presumably created and picked using some of the same technology.
The new feed would seemingly work by categorising any post according to the things that are included in it.
It isn’t certain that Facebook will roll out the feeds more widely. But it would make sense if the site did because many people now complain about the cluttered Facebook feed and the site is having problems encouraging people to post about themselves.
Presumably, the central news feed will be able to feature more personal posts and so encourage people to post updates about their own lives. The company has become increasingly concerned about what it calls “context collapse” – the fear that people are relying more and more on official posts and not talking about themselves.
Facebook rarely makes changes to its news feed, which functions as the centre of the site's experience. The most recent big alteration was the introduction earlier this year of Facebook Reactions – five buttons that sit alongside Like – and which