Facebook is testing a secondary News Feed in the beta version of the app on Android. Some users have noticed a similar feature being tested on iOS in early January.
In the latest beta update, the current version of the News Feed remains as the “Home” tab and the new “Explore” tab is a combination of photos, videos and articles that are tailored to the user’s interests, notably – from pages they have not liked or followed. The tab is similar to Instagram’s Search and Explore tab.
For example, my Explore tab is filled with pages closely related to those I’ve already liked, such as the entertainment vertical of a news site, a video popular with my friends, an article popular in my network and of course, memes. Above video stories, the feed also shows you how many of your friends have watched the video.
The Explore tab seems to be a way for users to engage with pages they haven’t liked or followed yet, and so wouldn’t see on their News Feed. The tab is also aligned with Facebook’s constant push for users to watch more video. The Explore tab feels a lot more like Twitter. While as of now, it seems like the tab serves as a source of recommendations for a user, going forward it could also potentially be a place to surface less “personalized” content and address the filter bubble, an increasingly common criticism of Facebook’s News Feed.
While Facebook runs tons of experiments on users and tests different features all the time, the Explore tab has been spotted both on iOS devices and in the official Android beta, which suggests Facebook may be already seriously thinking about the feature.