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Facebook wants to be the newspaper of your dreams

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A screenshot of the updated News Feed (click to enlarge.)

Everyone’s favorite social network Facebook is now getting even more personal, announcing that starting late Tuesday it will begin calibrating how it presents its News Feed feature based on how often a user signs into Facebook.

The company says the new News Feed is made to “act more like your own personal newspaper” by presenting the most interesting news that has been published since the last time a user signed in. If a user hasn’t signed in in say, six months, the first entries in her news feed will be the top photos and status that have been posted in that amount of time — rather than the top entries from the past few days. But if the user checks in more often, he or she will be shown the newest entries from his or her friends first, with the top posts further down.

“If you didn’t read the newspaper for the last 3 days, and just picked it up, it’d be great if the newspaper summarized… the past few days, rather than just assuming you had the context,” Facebook product manager Keith Schacht said in an interview Tuesday. “We’ve heard from users that it’s frustrating if your friend has an announcement, and you somehow missed the announcement.”

Accompanying each top news piece will be in-line controls that allow you to unmark an update as a top story; doing so will mean that Facebook will stop prioritizing similar posts in the future.

Screenshot of the new Ticker feature (click to enlarge.)

Facebook will also roll out two new updates set to roll out Tuesday evening: Slightly larger photos in the News Feed, and a new feature called Ticker that shows the latest updates from all a user’s friends in real time.

The Ticker is meant to allow people to join in on their friends’ updates as they are posted, to facilitate more of a conversational feel within the site. The Ticker will be on the right hand side of the screen, above the chat function. “This whole right hand column is about having your friends right with you on the site, and bringing the site alive and allowing you to have those conversations in real time,” Schacht said.

The new updates show that Facebook is still in the midst of the “launching season” CEO Mark Zuckerberg first discussed in June, when it announced a new video chat feature with Skype. With the company’s f8 developer conference coming up this Thursday, something tells me that Facebook still has a few more big announcements up its sleeve.

8 Responses to “Facebook wants to be the newspaper of your dreams”

  1. At the moment I’m no fan. However, I’m all too familiar with Facebook changes and the way we all react saying how awful it is an how much we hate it only to love it a month later.

    My biggest concern is “how much does facebook know about us?”.

  2. Priscilla Martin

    The entire update sucks hard. The ticker is ugly, floats above all the rest of the sight, and doesn’t really grab my attention except for the fact that it takes up space.

    As for the latest update to the news feed, who is Facebook to decide what I would find interesting as a top story? I want to see my friend’s posts in chronological order. If I wanted to see a post from six hours ago, I’d scroll down until I got there. At least then the posts would be in order.

  3. Beatrice Dewberry

    the new “feel” and ticker is terrible – too much movement, less user friendly and it’s making FB a whole lot less fun. Starting to feel like work just to keep up with the changes. Twitter, I’m so glad I got to know you already and Google + here I come!