You may soon be able to pay Facebook to show off your News Feed posts

facebooks new floating video feature lets you keep scrolling through content facebook

Your Facebook News Feed may have even more promoted content in the future — and that content may be status updates from friends willing to part with cash to get their posts out there. Facebook may be testing (again) a way to let people with private accounts pay to promote their tweets. Der Spiegel’s Paris bureau chief Mathieu von Rohr tweeted a screenshot from his private Facebook account showing an option to pay to promote the post to either fans of his page or to people chosen through targeting. 

Facebook did not respond to request for comment.

What does this mean for Facebook? This isn’t the first time the company has experimented with allowing users to pay to promote their posts. It started playing around with something called “Highlight” in New Zealand in 2012, and expanded the test to U.S. markets for a time. News of testing faded after that, but this latest evidence that tests are still ongoing implies a continued effort to make this feature stick.

And that’s not a good thing. The company is already taken strides to remodel both the News Feed and the larger Facebook experience to more closely resemble Twitter’s real time flow of information from both friends and public figures, so if the company is testing a way to let a wider swath of users pay to promote their tweets, it speaks to the overall goal to incite users to treat their status updates like tweets and try to spread them to a wider audience.

But there are several problems with this potential plan. Facebook’s Newsfeed is broken, and does not give users a comprehensive stream of updates like Twitter does. Until the website finds a way to fix the way it shows updates, the News Feed will always lack the cachet the Twitter feed has. The other problem is even harder to fix: Facebook is trying its darnedest to change the way people use the website so that users treat it like both Twitter and Facebook, but it’s an impossible task. People use the services for different purposes; this is why hashtags are an essential discovery tool on Twitter and useless signifiers of nothing on Facebook. Although company pages use Facebook’s promoted posts to spread their message, expanding this option to regular users doesn’t seem like it would appeal to anyone using the site as most people use the site, to update friends and family on their lives.

The feature may only appeal to a certain subset of monied private users who really, really want everyone to see their baby’s first Christmas outfit or their scuba trip to Cocos Island. But if it does end up becoming a popular feature, it will make Facebook a far more annoying service. People with the money to get their posts to the top of your feed will dominate what you see. Facebook may render its News Feed even more ineffectual by rigging it even more so that promoted posts dominate the feed. 

Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.

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. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.