Facebook abandons idea of a split news feed after test, axes Explore bookmark

Facebook’s news feed is not going to be split in two, after all. After testing a split news feed that separates friends from Pages, Facebook called the test unsuccessful and abandoned the idea. A split news feed, which would have been called the Explore Feed, would have made it possible for users to choose if they just wanted to see posts from friends, rather than public pages. Along with ending the tests, Facebook says the similarly named Explore bookmark that contained suggested content will also be discontinued.

Rather than the traditional news feed that mixes posts for followed friends, groups and pages, the tested feature would create one news feed with posts from friends, and another for finding new posts from Pages. Paid posts would have continued to be displayed in the friends feed, while organic reach would be limited to the second Pages feed.

Facebook tested the idea in six countries, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. That test didn’t go so well — surveyed users said that they were “less satisfied” with their news feed and that the change didn’t have the indented goal of helping users connect more with friends and family. (Snapchat’s ill-received update also splits friends from public accounts.)

The end of the test is likely a relief for Facebook Page owners. In the countries where Facebook began testing the features, several companies reported drops in engagement by as much as 60 to 80 percent. According to the analytics service CrowdTangle, Pages in the countries where the feature was being tested saw a loss between two-thirds and three-quarters of their reach overnight.

Pages come in many forms other than just businesses, including news outlets. the split news feed would have effectively removed actual news from the news feed, as Slovakian journalist Filip Struharik pointed out. A New York Times report looked into the countries that were part of the test earlier this year and found that the change also didn’t decrease the amount of fake news shared on the platform.

Facebook says its recent changes to the News Feed are already working toward the original goal of prioritizing “meaningful social interactions.” Another result of the test is that Facebook says communication on the testing process will be more clear following the response from users that were part of the testing.

The similarly named Explore Feed that is designed to help users find new Pages to follow will also be getting the ax. The Explore option left testing in October of last year, but Facebook now says that the section “isn’t an effective way for people to discover new content on Facebook.”

Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.

iPhone users are finding themselves randomly locked out of their Apple ID

According to posts on Reddit and Twitter, it looks like users on Reddit and Twitter having some issues with their Apple accounts. Specifically, it seems as though users are getting randomly locked out of their Apple IDs.

Faction-based PvP, new Vault openings coming to ‘Fallout 76’ after launch

Bethesda is already hard at work on post-launch content for Fallout 76, which launches November 14 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Faction-based PvP is in the works, and new vaults will open over time.

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."