There is so much talk going on about this new feature “Explorer Feed” which was introduced by Facebook recently. So I thought it was time for me to point out some facts regarding the new release.

First, here is the full official statement announced by Facebook;

“With all of the possible stories in each person’s feed, we always work to connect people with the posts they find most meaningful. People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages. To understand if people like these two different spaces, we will test a few things, such as how people engage with videos and other types of posts. These tests will start in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. We have no current plans to roll this out globally.”

Cookie monster surprised

The idea behind the Explore Feed is to help Facebook users discover more content across the social network, beyond posts from friends and Pages you already follow. Instead, this feed surfaces recommended content it thinks you might find interesting, including posts, articles, photos and videos from sources you haven’t followed yet, such as Facebook Pages and other posts from publishers or news organizations.

However the selection isn’t just random. Items in the Explore Feed are similar to those you’ve already liked, or those popular among your network of friends, for example.

The overall goal here is to keep the users more engaged so they spend more time-on-site (or time-in-app, if on mobile). This allows Facebook to serve more ads in between the content, in videos and elsewhere. Effectively, it’s a second-tier News Feed that Facebook could monetize.

At this time, however, the feed doesn’t appear to include advertising. (At least no ads appeared in tests after scrolling down for a good minute or so).

The Explore Feed itself has been in testing for some time. Earlier this year, the feed was designated by a rocket ship icon, which may have confused users who didn’t understand its purpose. But other tests had labeled the feed “Explore,” which made more sense. That name has since stuck, as that’s how the feed is now labeled on desktop as well.

When asked in the past about the feed’s expansion, Facebook had continued to say that the Explore Feed is just a test. Let’s hang on and see how it rolls out.

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