Facebook Explore Feed trial shunts unpaid posts out of users' feeds

Facebook is trialling a change that could push non-promoted posts out its newsfeeds, meaning that small publishers' exposure on the social network could suffer.

Facebook Explore Feed trial shunts unpaid posts out of users' feeds
Facebook Explore Feed trial shunts unpaid posts out of users' feeds

Facebook is in the process of rolling out a new feature called Explore, an alternative to its News feed designed to help users discover more content across the network beyond their friends' posts and followed Pages.

While in most countries, including the UK, users can see Explore feeds in their bookmarks, in a handful of countries (Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia), all posts by pages are moved from newsfeeds to Explore, making it harder for users to see stories.

The system means that non-promoted posts, even those that users previously followed, are pushed to a secondary feed.

According to Slovakian journalist Filip Struhárik, who writes for Dennik N, the trial has impacted massively on publisher-user engagement in these countries. Sixty of Slovakia's media pages have seen four-times fewer interactions (likes, comments and shares) since the test.

However, Facebook has insisted the trial is regional. Adam Mosseri, head of news feed, said in a statement: "The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content.

"We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further. 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.

"Unfortunately, some have mistakenly made that interpretation — but that was not our intention."