Facebook is trialling News Feed split that could be disastrous for publishers

FacebookFacebook has begun testing a feature that would see non-promoted posts pushed off the News Feed, in a move that could be highly detrimental to smaller publishers and businesses.

The feature – which is being trialled in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Cambodia – was first brought to light by Slovakian journalist Filip Struhárik, who pointed out that the publication he works for, Dennik N, has seen its biggest drop ever in organic reach on Facebook.

According to Struhárik, reach has fallen by two-thirds, for the Facebook pages he reached out to, since the test began. Furthermore, the sixty biggest Slovak media pages have seen four times fewer interactions with the introduction of the feature – a similar thing has been seen in Guatemala and Cambodia.

The test, which has since been confirmed by Facebook, is part of the social network’s roll out of its new Explore Feed, which helps Facebook users to discover content from places other than their friends and the Pages they already follow. Content on the feed includes posts, articles, photos and videos – based on things the user may be interested in – from other Pages and publishers.

For most countries, the Explore tab will act as a companion to the News Feed. However, in the test countries, the two feeds are more-or-less completely separate entities.

Facebook has said that there are no concrete plans to roll out the feature globally, and this is merely a case of comparing the two variations of News Feed.

“People often tell us they want more from friends so were testing two feeds, one for friend content and another dedicated to page content,” said Adam Mosseri, head of News Feed at Facebook, on Twitter.

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