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Facebook downplays test banishing all Pages to buried Explore Feed

Facebook downplays test banishing all Pages to buried Explore Feed
From TechCrunch - October 23, 2017

Facebook has caused a 60% to 80% drop in referral traffic to news outlets in six countries due to a test that removed Page posts from the News Feed and relocated them to a separate, hard-to-find Explore Feed. But now Facebooks VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri writes that We currently have no plans to roll this test out further. But that doesnt mean Facebook wont move forward with implementing a similar change more widely if users prefer their News Feed just be post from friends.

Facebook recently launched its Explore Feed that shows posts from Pages you dont follow, as well as other content like Events, Groups, Moments, and Saved items. Its only accessible from the More tab for most users, making it relatively hidden. But Pages you do follow still had their best posts appear in your main News Feed.

But over the past week, Facebook tested a different version of the Explore Feed inSri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. It took all non-ad Page posts out of the News Feed and put them in the much less visble Explore Feed. This led to some Pages receiving 4X less engagement than before. A selection of the top Facebook Pages in Slovakia lost 2/3s to 3/4s of their reachthe amount of users who see their posts, according to Facebook-owned analytics tool CrowdTangle says The Guardian.

As for how long the test will last, Mosseri tweeted Likely months as it can take that long for people to adapt, but well be looking to improve the experience in the meantime.

Those months of Facebook drought could be ruinous for some publishers whove grown to rely on the social network for referral traffic, and that have hired staff to produce content funded by the ad views driven by Facebook referrals. Publishers trying to follow the trend of increased video watching on Facebook could also have problems if a News Feed change massively decreases the viewership of videos that are expensive to produce.

Mosseri writes:

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