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Facebook Ends ‘Explore’ News Feed Experiment Because ‘People Don’t Want Two Separate Feeds’

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Facebook won't be splitting the news feed into two after all as it announces the end of an experiment where non-promoted posts by publishers and pages were moved to a secondary "Explore" feed.

After testing it in six countries, users apparently found the system confusing as they didn't want to bounce between two separate feeds.

Users Hated Two Separate Facebook Feeds

"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 confirmed in a blog post on March 1.

Apart from the difficulty of having to look at two news feeds, moving posts from brands and news sources apparently worsened Facebook's fake news problem. In an article published January by The New York Times, a handful of publishers and users found that the Explore feed amplified the impact of fabricated news items in some of the countries involved in the test.

The two-news feed system required publishers to pay a fee to have their content promoted and thus moved to the main feed.

As such, Facebook has decided not to widely implement the system and has also relegated the test countries back into a single news feed. Even still, the company says it wants to prioritize "meaningful" interactions on the site over other types of posts.

Facebook's News Feed Changes

Of late, Facebook's been adding and taking away a handful of things from the news feed to accomplish that goal. For starters, it has laid down stricter rules to avoid election trolls. It is currently experimenting with a downvote button. Earlier this January, it announced it has revamped the news feed to feature more posts from friends and family instead of brands and publishers, all these to make the news feed a safer, more pleasant space where meaningful interactions occur.

It's hard to determine whether those meaningful interactions are always credible. A user can engage meaningfully with their friend over a fake news item or a fabricated article. Facebook is still under great pressure to fix its fake news problem, even more so when the site has evolved from a harmless social media avenue into something akin to a primary news source for some who don't go out of their way to check the credibility of what they find on Facebook.

With the experiment concluding, the company has just learned that two separate feeds won't help.

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