There’s a lot going on under the Facebook hood. Its engineers are constantly testing features on a case-by-case basis with limited users lucky enough to get a first-hand look at what Facebook is toying with. These days, we’ve noticed that there have been a lot of changes going on with Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. For a while now we’ve only really seen status updates from friends and brands that we’re following, but activities including people our friends are following, the games they’re playing, who they’re now friends with, and other activities are making a comeback in the News Feed.
But with this return, there’s one common tie-in that we’ve been noticing. And these are new in-line actions, which we’re assuming are currently in the testing phases and a way to boost engagement. To sum it up, everything our friends are doing, Facebook is giving us the option to follow along. Here are the latest changes that we’ve noticed, which Facebook has confirmed with Digital Trends are new all features that the social network is testing out.
Add a second degree “friend”
Friend notifications are popping up, which was once a part of the earlier version of Facebook until it was buried by EdgeRank. Who our friends added as friends wouldn’t really matter if we’re not familiar with that person in the first place. Regardless, as you can see from the screenshot, Facebook is inviting me to “Add Terry as a Friend,” because my connection has struck up a relationship with this Terry, whom I’ve never interacted with.
Follow people friends are following
Like the option to add friends of friends, Facebook is enabling users to follow people your friends are following directly from the News Feed. If you’re a part of Facebook’s test, you’ll see an option labeled “Follow” in-line with the story.
Join an event a friend has shared
Your friends are probably following and joining Facebook events pretty regularly. In a bid to encourage joining events from the News Feed, for every event that a friend shares that pops up in your stream, Facebook offers you the option to “Join” the public event in question. The perk is that you don’t have to click twice – normally you’d click to view the event’s page (and details), and then click “Join” in the event page to RSVP. “Join” has been the new term for awhile, but now it’s showing up inline.
Keep up with a Facebook Page
In this case, a musician who shared her music video on Vimeo surfaced the “Like” button in an unexpected location. Underneath the thumbnail and text of the music video, I noticed an in-line “Like” button opposite the question “Want to see more from Vimeo?” Hovering over the button popped up a tool tip that says, “Keep up with Vimeo. Like to see stories and videos from this Page.” While I’m not certain if this option to Like the page is intended to show up by default for every one of Vimeo’s URL shared or if it’s an advertising unit (although we’d doubt the latter), Facebook might have something here that should please the brands with Facebook pages since it’s a pretty direct call-to-action button inviting users to Like the page without the hassle of having to actively search for Vimeo in this case.
When Facebook confirmed with us that this features is a test, they added that it was intended to “help users find more content that they might be interested in.”