Seeing a rocket ship pop up on your Facebook newsfeed? Don’t worry — your account hasn’t been taken over by spacemen, nor are you alone in noticing this change. Rather, it would appear that Facebook is testing yet another version of News Feed for its users, which means that some of you are seeing this new icon at the top or bottom of your smartphone screen (depending on whether you’re an iPhone or Android user).
As TechCrunch reports, it appears that the rocket icon is part of Facebook’s attempt at offering a News Feed that is comprised of posts, articles, and other content from sources you aren’t currently following, but would likely like. In fact, the items that appear in the rocket ship feed are pulled from Facebook Pages that bear some resemblance to things you already “liked” on Facebook or things your friends have liked.
While the rocket ship is new, the experiment itself is not — an alternative News Feed was previously tested with a small square icon. However, that test was only seen by Android beta users, Mashable reported. iOS users, on the other hand, saw another similar test with a News Feed labeled “Explore.” But the most recent experiment appears in both the iOS and Android version of Facebook mobile, and also affects users who haven’t selected to be part of beta tests.
It would appear that the rocket ship test is being carried out across the world and a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the experiment in a statement to Mashable, noting, “We are testing a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them. We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore new content they haven’t connected with yet.”
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