Facebook decides two separate news feeds is the wrong call

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Last October, Facebook started a test, splitting the website into two different newsfeeds, one for status updates from friends and families, and another from brands and pages. When news about the split news feed first surfaced, it sparked concerns about the growing power of the social media giant, and how publishers would be affected.

A trial redesign of user's news feeds in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Bolivia, Cambodia, Serbia and Slovakia has been halted after strong criticism.

In a statement to the Guardian, Facebook said: "People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages". Aside from the backlash by news organizations, Facebook found that separating the feeds didn't actually lead to increased connections with friends and family as it had intended.

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For those who don't know how the Facebook feed works, when a page you follow posts something, Facebook's algorithm will push that post out to a number of people.

From the feedback that the company has received, it looks like the feature made it harder for people in the test countries to access important information, and Facebook hadn't communicated the test clearly as well. He said Facebook would, in response, revise how it tests product changes.

On Thursday, the social network said it's ending the test because the results came back negative.

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United States digital publisher Little Things became the first major casualty of the algorithm change this week, after a "catastrophic" and sudden drop in organic and influencer traffic of more than 75 per cent.

"We should have been more transparent and up front about [the test] ahead of it", said Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of news partnerships, onstage with Mosseri at Code Media.

The test wasn't necessarily a waste - Facebook learned people don't want two feeds! - but the company has also admitted that it wasn't handled very well. "[Publishers] totally freaked out, rightly so, because they didn't understand what we were doing or trying to get at". While it was initially presented as a way to discover new content, the firm has disvoered that it isn't "effective".

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