Instead of scrolling, Facebook users might soon be swiping horizontally to navigate through posts, as they would inside the Stories section of Facebook.
Facebook Combinig News Feed And Stories
Of course, nothing is set in stone. But TechCrunch notes that an interface such as this one could help Facebook glue more eyes to ads. If promoted content appears in the same carousel among Stories, advertisers could reach more viewership that way compared to traditional scrolling. Additionally, this might also help Facebook smoothly transition to the post-News Feed era while teaching advertisers how to use the fullscreen Stories ad format.
The new interface was first discovered by app researcher and software engineer Jane Manchun Wong, who's done this many times over, and with a variety of other apps, including Twitter.
Right now, Facebook Stories and the News Feed exist alongside one another as distinct sections inside the main Facebook app. In the News Feed, users have to scroll down to check out new content. In Stories, on the other hand, users watch content by swiping left or right. In this new design, they're integrated together; text posts, pictures, videos, Stories, and sponsored posts appear as part of the same interface.
Here's how it looks:
Facebook is testing to turn News Feed into Story Feed pic.twitter.com/83H7VWcgmD — Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 15, 2019
Facebook has confirmed that this hybrid Stories/News Feed section is in a very early stage of prototyping. That probably explains why the timer doesn't pause when reading a long post — the user has to read everything within six seconds. Wong jokingly notes this is a bug, not a feature.
It's also not clear if Facebook would be replacing the News Feed with this new Story Feed design or adding it as a separate standalone feature. For now, Wong notes it seems to be optional, as tapping on the blank space of a post from the News Feed causes it to display "the reel of mixture of Posts and Stories."
No Public Testing Yet
Facebook says it's currently not testing this feature publicly, presumably because the company still needs to do a lot more user research before rolling it to some members of the public. The feature was discovered inside the Android version of Facebook. If it does come out, it's not clear if iOS folks would receive the same functionality, but that's highly likely. Experimental features could always get scrapped, it should be noted, so there's a possibility this never makes it into the light of day.