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Facebook terminates the ticker, the ‘creeper feed’ of every interaction

facebook stories on desktop tested sign
Panithan Fakseemuang / 123RF
Facebook is making it harder to see what your friends are liking and commenting on right this minute — the ticker feed recently joined Facebook’s list of axed features. A Facebook representative confirmed through a help forum last week that the ticker, which showed friend activity in real time from status updates to likes and comments, was removed after users started asking where the option was.

The Facebook ticker, shown above in the original 2011 design, showed a list of every like, comment and status update. Image used with permission by copyright holder

The ticker is about as old as Facebook’s algorithms that determine what content you see first. The tool launched back in 2011 as a real-time alternative to news feed algorithms. While the feed chooses top stories based on past likes and other data, the ticker showed everything as it happened, including not just status updates but likes and comments on other posts as well.

While Facebook only recently confirmed the feature got the ax, users have been reporting the tool missing for several weeks before that. The platform appeared to either test a ticker-free feed first or may have simply gradually removed the feature.

Facebook’s decision to remove the feature likely wasn’t on a whim — the platform tested the removal of the real-time tracker in 2013, creating a panic (or in some cases, excitement) when the feature was part of an outage. Facebook returned the feature after the temporary outage.

The removal of the ticker has mixed reactions for Facebook users. Many inside the Facebook help forums are reporting that they used the tool often and liked being able to have both an algorithmic feed and a real-time option. Others have different names for the feature, including “creeper feed” because of the tool’s inclusion of not just status updates but all activity on the platform.

Without the ticker, Facebook’s right-hand sidebar on desktop browsers is divided into different sections with Stories at the top, followed by event invited, trending topics, Instant games, and a list of episodes (if you follow any) as part of Facebook’s new push for original video content. And of course, some ads.

With only a one-line response inside a help forum confirming that the ticker is no longer available, it is unclear why Facebook decided to remove the feature. Users could previously remove the ticker from their sidebar and then turn it back on again later if they changed their mind.

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