Here’s something that will make you feel old: Facebook’s News Feed just turned 10.
The algorithmic social timeline that is an essential part of the Facebook experience came to life a decade ago and, it’s safe to say, the social network’s founder was more than a slight bit sentimental when discussing his company’s revolutionary invention.
Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook to share a flurry of public posts with his 78 million followers celebrating what he dubbed his firm’s “most advanced” creation. The love fest started with the Facebook CEO sharing an “On This Day” Facebook memory, which included a photo of the original team that helped create News Feed — several of whom later joined Zuckerberg for a live-stream.
Describing the feature’s invention as one of his “favorite stories from Facebook’s history,” Zuckerberg recalled how different Facebook looked before its introduction, when the social network had a mere 10 million users: “At the beginning of Facebook, there was no News Feed. For more than two years, Facebook was just a collection of profiles … There was no way to see updates from all your friends or be sure they saw yours.”
Ten years, and over a billion additional users down the line, News Feed is now viewed as an integral part of Facebook’s success. “Technically, News Feed is one of the most advanced systems we’ve built,” Zuckerberg said. “For more than 1 billion people every day, it considers everything your friends are posting and all of the media content you might be interested in … and then it tries to show you what you’ll find most important. Nothing like it has ever been built before.”
It’s not only Zuckerberg that’s been singing the feature’s praises. Earlier today, four members of the original team that worked on the feature joined their boss for a Facebook Live broadcast.
Speaking during the stream, Chris Cox — who currently serves as chief product officer at the company — described the News Feed’s debut as “the most inglorious launch moment in history.” Elaborating on the feature’s rocky rollout, former Facebook staffer Ruchi Sanghvi claimed that 10 percent of users initially threatened to boycott the News Feed. Instead of shutting down the divisive timeline, Facebook put its trust in the stats, which showed that engagement on the platform had doubled as a result of its introduction.
Intriguingly, the News Feed was constantly referred to as Facebook’s version of a “newspaper” throughout the proceedings. It seems like an odd description for a platform that has publicly denounced the “media company” label that is increasingly being attached to it. Additionally, Zuckerberg chiming in to state that the News Feed is “already more diverse than most newspapers or TV stations,” will likely add fuel to the fire in regard to the social network’s reputation as a tool that undermines the media rather than working in its favor.
“It’s not a perfect system,” admits Zuckerberg. “[But] we’ll keep working to make Facebook a better place for all the moments you share.”
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