As News Feed Turns 10, Facebook Tests Condensed Version


Facebook is celebrating 10 years of News Feed by testing a new feature that makes it easier to access the content your friends are discussing most.

A box titled "What friends are talking about" has appeared in some users' feeds, according to Mashable, which spotted it in the Android mobile app. The small collection of posts from friends seems to highlight the number of comments a post has received: a sort of condensed News Feed that offers more opportunities to remark with less scrolling.

Facebook declined to comment on the reports. But as Mashable points out, the social network often tests new functions with small groups of users, and not all come to fruition. Facebook has been making small tweaks to the News Feed in recent months, though. In June, for example, the company updated News Feed to prioritize posts based on activity.

Back when Facebook started in 2004, however, there was no News Feed. "For more than two years, Facebook was just a collection of profiles," CEO Mark Zuckerberg reminisced in a Monday post.

And when News Feed did launch, not everyone was a fan. Just after its launch in September 2006, 1 million people joined a protest group threatening to quit over the new timeline. "I remember there were actual protesters in the streets outside our office demanding we change," Zuckerberg wrote, calling the invention of News Feed "one of my favorite stories from Facebook's history."

Now a decade later, News Feed serves more than 1 billion people every day.

And, according to science, it may be making your life better: A new study from Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook researchers suggests personal interactions on the site can have a major impact on a person's feelings of well-being and satisfaction with life.

The findings run counter to previous studies, which show that time spent on social media is associated with a greater likelihood of loneliness and depression. "It turns out that when you talk with a little more depth on Facebook to people you already like, you feel better," Robert Kraut, a professor in CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute, said in a statement.

"This suggests that people who are feeling down may indeed spend more time on social media, but they choose to do so because they've learned it makes them feel better," Facebook research scientist Moira Burke added. "They're reminded of the people they care about in their lives."

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