Facebook tests moving non-promoted posts out of newsfeed

Facebook tests moving non-promoted posts out of newsfeed
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Facebook is testing a new update that would move non-promoted posts out of users’ newsfeeds, which could be a major hit to media publishers who use the platform to bring traffic to their websites.

The changes are currently being tested in six countries including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka, according to Filip Struhárik, a journalist at Slovakian news outlet Dennik N. The alternative version of Facebook shows non-promoted posts in a secondary feed, while Facebook’s primary feed prioritizes content from user’s friends and advertisements.

“Pages are seeing dramatic drops in organic reach,” Struhárik wrote. “The reach of several Facebook pages fell on Thursday and Friday by two-thirds compared to previous days.”

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Certain posts from Facebook pages have reportedly dropped by 60 to 80 percent in the test countries. If implemented universally, the changes could hurt publishers who rely on Facebook to grow their audiences and, in turn, ad revenue.

Promoted stories from media outlets still appear in users’ primary newsfeed.

Adam Mosseri, head of news at Facebook, said on Twitter that there is no plan to make the changes global.

“People often tell us they want more from friends so we're testing two feeds, one for friend content and another dedicated to page content,” Mosseri tweeted.

In 2015, Facebook overtook Google as the largest traffic source for news outlets. According to a report at the time, Facebook accounted for 43 percent of the traffic at the over 400 media sites included in the study.

“Publishers spend anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars creating content that goes on Facebook and staffing social media teams to produce their Pages,” wrote Ziad Ramley, former social media lead at Al Jazeera English. “Any change (or potential change) to the distribution of articles, photos, and videos has wide-ranging business impacts on pretty much everyone.”