Facebook could take on Google News with News Feed update
Published 20/04/2016 | 11:33
Facebook is testing an update to its news feed that could prompt a dramatic change in the way users interact with the social network.
The revamped feed is divided into multiple sections that include News Feed, World & U.S. News, Sports, and Food. Turning Facebook's main app into a news reader by introducing the sections would pit it against Apple News, Twitter and Google News.
The beta Android app, which was spotted and shared by Twitter user Tom Critchlow, has section dividers at the bottom that let users switch between the different sections. Click World & U.S. News or swipe to the left, and Facebook's feed turns into a list of relevant news articles.
The updated app also encourages users to add people as friends that they don't know, in a move akin to following someone of interest on Twitter.
Facebook told Mashable that it is testing the updated feed, but did not say if the feature was going to be rolled out across the app.
"People told us they'd like options to see more stories on Facebook around specific topics they're interested in," a Facebook spokesman said. "So we have been testing a few feeds for people to view more and different stories from people and Pages based on different topic areas."
This isn't the first time the social network has tested out a topic-based feed. Last year it tested a "Topics" section on its web version. The areas of interest included Animals & Pets, Food, Health & Fitness, and Sports.
Facebook has hinted that a range of updates could come to the app, including weather alerts and an easier way to post gifs and images. Recently it has rolled out Ticket Master sales on the app, and Dropbox in Messenger.
Mark Zuckerberg last week announced the launch of the Messenger platform, a tool that will enable developers to build chat bots for the Messenger app, in a move that it hopes will change the way users interact with its service.