Taking the News Out of Facebook's News Feed Could Hurt Publishers

Taking the News Out of Facebook's News Feed Could Hurt Publishers 600 315 C-Suite Network

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A new feature that Facebook recently has been testing in a handful of countries could hurt publishers everywhere if it should roll out globally.

The feature removes users’ Liked pages from their main News Feed and aggregates them in a separate space called “Explore.”

In the six countries where Facebook has been testing the idea, traffic to news outlets reportedly has dropped 60-80 percent.

“Publishers should be terrified by this,” said John Carroll, a mass communications professor at Boston University.

“One of the risks that publishers run when they rely on traffic from Facebook is that it can go away as quickly as it arrived,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

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No Planned Expansion

Facebook on Monday attempted to calm the anxiety it created in the publishing community.

“There have been a number of reports about a test we’re running in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala and Cambodia,” wrote Adam Mosseri, head of News Feed, in an online post. “Some have interpreted this test as a future product we plan to deliver globally. We currently have no plans to roll this test out further.”

The test was launched in response to user feedback, he said.

“People tell us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family. We are testing having one dedicated space for people to keep up with their friends and family, and another separate space, called Explore, with posts from pages,” Mosseri explained.

“We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further,” he noted. “There is no current plan to roll this out beyond these test countries or to charge pages on Facebook to pay for all their distribution in News Feed or Explore.”