As many of you have realized, Facebook has been making it progressively harder to share non-paid content. Usually, only a tiny percentage of your friends and followers (around 2 to 5%) sees whatever it is you’re posting–unless you pay a small fee to have it appear on people’s timelines. Now, Facebook is considering splitting its News Feed in two, as The Independent reports.
The company has confirmed that it is trying out the idea of dividing the site in order to separate commercial posts and pages from personal news.
Normally, Facebook’s News Feed wraps up a host of information from different sources, putting posts from pages with millions of followers alongside those from people’s friends and relatives. Under the test, these will now be split apart, meaning that pages will be put into a separate feed that people will have to actively click through to access. The only way of getting into that personal feed is to pay for the posts to be pushed into it, according to news organizations who have been subject to the test.
Why? Just… Why?
Although this may be the first question in your head, it actually kinda makes sense. The move appears to be aimed at the two problems currently Facebook:
First, it will encourage people to read – and therefore post – information about people’s private lives, rather than information about what’s happening in the world. This is important to Facebook, in order to tailor-aim its ads to its users.
The second is that it will presumably encourage news companies and others to buy more ads, allowing Facebook to, well, generate more money.
At the moment, people are only seeing it in six smaller countries: Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia, and Sri Lanka, and it will likely go on for months. The company has no plans at the moment for a global test of the two separate feeds for its 2 billion users. Facebook also does not currently plan to force commercial pages to pay for all their distribution.
Still, anyone using Facebook to promote their books should keep an eye on this development, as tests like this often serve as a precursor to bigger changes.
Chris The Story Reading Ape added this comment: “This explains why posts automatically uploaded from my blog can be seen only by me (look for the tiny black padlock above your posts) when, in fact, my settings are for them to be seen PUBLICALLY (look for the tiny globe of the world above your posts).
Since early November I have had to go onto FB and manually change the Padlock to a Globe, in order for them to be seen by everyone.”