Facebook Redesigns News Feed With Larger Images and Options to Let Users Choose What They See

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. , Thursday, March 7, 2013. Zuckerberg on Thursday unveiled a new look for News Feed, the first page users are brought to when visiting the site. (Photo: AP/Jeff Chiu)

MENLO PARK, Calif. (TheBlaze/AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new look for the social network’s News Feed, the place where its 1 billion users congregate to see what’s happening with their friends, family and favorite businesses.

The makeover will carve out more space to show the billions of photos and videos that are being posted on Facebook each month. The redesign, which began rolling out Thursday, also ushers in more ways for users to control the types of posts that appear in their feeds.

Facebook Redesigns News Feed With Larger Images and Options to Let Users Choose What They See

The look of a post on News Feed before (left) and after the redesign (right). (Image: Facebook)

Zuckerberg says he wants the News Feed to become more like a digital newspaper filled with compelling information tailored for each user.

Watch Zuckerberg speak more about the new design:

The changes are Facebook’s attempt to learn more about its users and keep people coming back so the company can sell more advertising.

The redesign comes amid chatter of “Facebook fatigue,” real or imagined, and is meant to improve the flow of status updates, photos and advertisements to its users on the site.

On its page launching the redesign, Facebook brands it as removing clutter from users’ feeds. It will allow users to choose exactly what they want to see at a given time. Here are some examples it gives in its newsroom:

  • All Friends – a feed that shows you everything your friends are sharing
  • Photos – a feed with nothing but photos from your friends and the Pages you like
  • Music – a feed with posts about the music you listen to
  • Following – a feed with the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow.

Watch Facebook’s behind-the-scenes video for the redesign:

The newsroom on Facebook also noted that the redesign took the opportunity to streamline how the site looks on a range of devices, making it uniform among computers, tablets and smartphones.

Facebook Redesigns News Feed With Larger Images and Options to Let Users Choose What They See

(Image: Facebook)

The unveiling event was held at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. It was Facebook’s second staged event at its headquarters since the company’s May initial public offering. The company unveiled a search feature at the first one in January.

If past site changes are any indication, the News Feed tweaks may take some getting used to and could lead to user grumbles. Facebook users often complain about changes to the site, whether it’s cosmetic tweaks or the overhaul of privacy settings.

But given that a month ago a Pew study reported that many Facebook users take a break from the site for weeks at a time for reasons that included too much irrelevant information, the redesign focusing on what individuals want to see might be a welcome change. The report, from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, also found that some 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a hiatus for other reasons like boredom and for Lent.

Here’s what Tech Crunch’s Josh Constine had to say about the changes:

Overall, users simply have more choice now. If they want to see content from businesses, it’s easier to than before. If they don’t, they skip them. While businesses might not like the latter half of that, the update should get people browsing for longer and improve the Facebook experience as a whole. That means there’ll be more chances to market to users each day, and for years to come.

Overall, though, Facebook’s user base is growing, especially on mobile devices. At last count it had 1.06 billion active monthly accounts. The number of people who access Facebook daily is also on the rise.

That said, even the company has acknowledged that some of its users, especially the younger ones, are migrating to substitutes, but so far this has not meant an overall decline in user numbers.

“For example, we believe that some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favor of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram,” the company said last month in the “risk factors” of its annual 10-K filing. “In the event that our users increasingly engage with other products and services, we may experience a decline in user engagement and our business could be harmed.”

You can put yourself on the waiting list to try the new News Feed design here.

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