Facebook (still) wants to be your ‘personalized newspaper’

Mark Zuckerberg is getting a lot of attention for talking about today’s News Feed redesign as making Facebook a “personalized newspaper.” Which sounds OK, I guess, but that vague notion is also exactly what Facebook said about the News Feed back in 2011.

The new Facebook — still not actually a newspaper.


What we do know about the Facebook redesign is it puts more visual emphasis on photos and video, less visual emphasis on everything else, and makes the desktop and mobile navigation more consistent.

There are some small tweaks affecting the news world. The News Feed can now be filtered to show only certain kinds of content, and one of those is a filter just for people and Pages you follow but aren’t friends with. This may help improve the (shrinking) user engagement with content posted by popular journalists or news organization Pages. That is, if any users notice and use that filter.

The reality is that Facebook is still not that great for news.

By the sheer volume of users and time spent there, it does drive significant referrals to many news sites. But on the whole, the Facebook user experience is one of personal status updates and photos from people you know, mixed with a little bit of entertainment from celebrities, journalists, tastemakers or brands. Oh, and a lot of advertising.

Twitter remains the far more optimized network for delivering news and other real-time information in an unfiltered stream. Facebook is better at capturing the interpersonal discussions and emotions that ripple out later.

Twitter breaks the news; Facebook bakes it.

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