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Facebook ends with testing the criticised feature

The Explore Feed feature tested in Slovakia and five other countries was evaluated as a failure and rejected by Facebook users.

(Source: AP/TASR)

Facebook moved all entries of Facebook sites – i.e. media, brands, celebrities or politicians – to a separate section called Explore Feed (Prieskumník in Slovak) in October 2017. As a result, there were only entries of their virtual friends and ads left in the newsfeed, the Denník N daily wrote on March 1.

This was a test the company launched in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia.

“This test will end in the upcoming days,” John Hegeman, vice-president of the product team in charge of Facebook’s newsfeed, told Denník N, adding that people do not want two separate feeds.

In polls, they told us they were less satisfied with the entries they saw and that two separate feeds did not in fact help them be in better contact with friends and family, Facebook wrote.

The social network admits that due to the Explore Feed, people had bigger problems getting to relevant information.

Facebook also adds that it failed to communicate the launch of the test properly and that in the future it would revamp the testing of new things and informing their users about them.

The Explore Feed is ending in other countries where it was meant to help people discover content from sites they do not usually follow. Facebook wrote on its blog that it is not an effective way of discovering new content on Facebook.

Impact of Explore Feed

Apart from affecting users, the launch of Explore Feed fundamentally affected the number of people the entries reached: the reach of some sites has declined by half.

After this feature was launched, Slovak media lost on average up to 50 percent of interactions, i.e. Likes, Comments and Shares, with this move harming more serious and influential media than sites spreading hatred and disinformation.

After the end of Explore Feed, the statistics of Facebook sites may improve slightly but in the long term, their impact will decline. In January, Facebook introduced its strategy for the upcoming months: the social network should be more about friends and acquaintances and less about the passive consumption of the Faceboook site content.

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