Facebook Explore Feed ends tests, arrives on mobile and desktop browsers

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Nataliya Popova / 123RF
Facebook’s custom-tailored feed for discovering new posts and people is no longer a test. On Wednesday, October 18, Facebook confirmed that Explore is beginning an official rollout, including adding the feature to desktop browsers.

Originally launching on mobile as one of Facebook’s many tested features, the Facebook Explore Feed is like a news feed designed for discovering something new. Instead of displaying posts from friends and pages you already follow, Explore suggests posts from public profiles and pages you might be interested in following. Posts are often tagged at the top with “Popular Among Followers of” with a specific page name, or “Popular With Your Friends,” so you can see why Facebook is suggesting that specific post.

One user’s Explore Feed won’t be the same as the next user’s. The Explore section is customized based on the pages you already follow. Facebook also considers what your friends like when suggesting content inside the Explore portal, so if your friends liked that viral cat video, you’ll probably come across it while browsing through the new section.

While the Explore Feed serves as a spot for top posts Facebook thinks you might like, Explore is also an entire section with suggestions for groups, local places, recommendations, where to find a Wi-Fi hot spot and even jobs.

Facebook originally tested the Explore Feed on mobile, but now the feature is available both in-app and when using a desktop browser. The feed includes photos, videos, and posts in both formats. While extending the time spent actually exploring by adding ads to the feature would make sense, advertisements don’t yet appear to have infiltrated the section.

Creating a place for users to discover new content isn’t a new idea, with several social media platforms having their own variation — though the term “variation” doesn’t apply to naming practices since the feature seems to be universally called Explore. Pinterest has an Explore tab with pins from the top publishers. Instagram has long had a section by the same name, recently expanding the options with a bigger focus on video and bringing the section outside the app to mobile browsers. Earlier this year, Twitter switched Moments to an Explore section with live and pre-recorded videos.

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