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Facebook Is Testing Another Big Change

December 29, 2015, 10:03 PM UTC
#CDUdigital Conference In Berlin
BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 12: A visitor uses a mobile phone in front of the Facebook logo at the #CDUdigital conference on September 12, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. The world's largest social media network was launched by Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard College roommates in 2004, and had its initial public offering in February 2012. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Photograph by Adam Berry — Getty Images

Facebook is testing a new feature that would allow users to browse across multiple feeds rather than just one main News Feed.

The feeds would organize stories from people and pages into different topics, such as “style” and “travel.” There’s no indication that the main News Feed will change in any way.

The feature was first spotted by Jason Stein, founder and CEO of social media agency Laundry Service.

“People have told us they’d like new options to see and have conversations about more stories on Facebook around specific topics they’re interested in,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “So we are testing feeds for people to view different stories from people and Pages based on topic areas. You can access these feeds from your Bookmarks, located underneath Favorites, or a navigation bar under Search.”

The screenshots below shows how these topics appear in the Facebook mobile app:

Facebook has been experimenting with a similar feature for its website since October, as AdWeek noted. Users reported seeing a “Topics” option in the website’s sidebar that included themes such as “Food,” “Health & Fitness,” “Animals & Pets,” and “Sports.” At that time, there was no sign of this new feature on Facebook’s mobile app.

The new feature is only being tested, meaning there’s no guarantee these multiple feeds will roll out more widely. Large tech companies such as Facebook and Google often test new features with small groups of users to see what resonates. Not all of these features become permanent.

However, the test is yet another indication that Facebook views itself as a hub for all of your Internet needs rather than just a social network. Over the past year, the company has made it so that you can read news stories and go shopping without having to navigate away from Facebook through new features like Instant Articles and Facebook Messenger add-ons.

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