Aims to become more dynamic
Facebook doesn’t want to be dismissed as an Internet has-been before its social network even enters its adolescence.
In an effort to remain hip, it is infusing the focal point of its website with a more dynamic look and additional controls designed to empower its one billion users to sort streams of photos and other material into more organised sections that appeal to their personal interests.
The changes unveiled on Thursday are an attempt to address complaints that Facebook’s hub the News Feed is degenerating into a jumble of monotonous musings and disjointed pictures. This has come as users’ social circles have widened from a few dozen people to an unwieldy assortment of friends, family, businesses, celebrities, co-workers and fleeting acquaintances.
That evolution requires a more nuanced approach than the computer-generated algorithms that Facebook has been relying on to pick out the most relevant content to display in each user’s News Feed. The new features will enable users to choose to see streams of content that may feature nothing but photos or posts from their closest friends, family members or favourite businesses. Or they can just peruse content about music, or sports, as if they were grabbing a section of a newspaper.
Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes the makeover turns the News Feed into something like a newspaper tailored to fit the particular interests of each user on every visit to the website.
Though Mr. Zuckerberg didn’t say it, the overhaul also appears to be aimed at carving out more space to show larger and more compelling ads within the News Feed as Facebook seeks to boost its revenue and stock price.
Previous tweaks to the News Feed have triggered howls of protest among Facebook’s users. Hoping to minimise the grousing this time around, Facebook intends to roll out the changes in phases. It will probably be at least six months before everyone who accesses Facebook on a personal computer sees the revamped News Feed, the company said. New mobile applications featuring the changes should be released within that time frame too.
The transition is likely to be completed before Facebook celebrates its 10th birthday next February.