Facebook expected to reveal new content-specific news feeds on Thursday

6 Mar 2013

It’s been well over a year since Facebook last updated its news feed, and it seems a major one is coming tomorrow that will introduce content-specific feeds focused on photos and music, as well as more prominence for posts with images and links.

Invites have been sent out for a press event in Facebook’s California HQ this Thursday, 7 March, where it is believed the new-look news feed will be unveiled.

TechCrunch’s Josh Constine claims to have spoken to a Facebook employee and several developers about what to expect tomorrow, and his multiple unnamed sources led him to believe that what we’ll see is the addition of buttons for content-specific feeds beneath the search box at the top of the main news feed.

Improved photo and music feeds

A photos feed of snaps shared on both Facebook and Instagram and a music feed showing what friends are listening to on connected services like Spotify, concerts in the user’s area, newly released albums, and posts from the profiles and pages of musicians and bands liked and followed by the user are specified, but other feeds for links, videos and apps or games could also be on the cards.

Currently, clicking the photos option in the news feed sidebar will bring up your own photos and albums. There’s also an Instagram link in the apps department that doesn’t do much at all and a music one that displays updates from lots of music-based pages and profiles and shows what my friends are listening to, but it also pulls in a collection of random content. For example, I’ve seen Siliconrepublic.com’s own posts show up in this feed. Neither of these links appear in the mobile app, either, but it is believed the coming update will feature across all platforms.

Facebook is also said to be planning to make posts with images and links more prominent, a rule that will also apply to posts from advertisers, giving them more room to grab users’ attention.

Get ready for the backlash

Whatever Facebook introduces tomorrow, one thing that can be almost guaranteed is a slew of complaints about it. Almost any changes to the service have been widely criticised by users on first being introduced, only to be accepted in the long run. Remember timeline?

The last news feed update in September 2011 – which focused on a constantly updating feed of Facebook-defined top stories as ‘most recent’ was covered with the introduction of a real-time ticker – received copious amounts of backlash. Yet we’re all still using it.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.