Facebook is trialling a redesigned News Feed that’s accessed by a mysterious rocket icon that’s only appearing for select users. But what is it, and how can you get it?
Over the past few days, users have begun reporting that a rocket icon had been added to the icon bar in Facebook’s mobile app. The new icon sits alongside long-existing buttons like ‘News Feed’, ‘Friends’, and the recently added ‘Marketplace’. But unlike Marketplace, this latest icon was added with minimal fanfare from Facebook.
It turns out that Facebook is actually testing a new type of News Feed that delivers content from people you don’t necessarily follow. The second ‘rocket’ News Feed will show images, videos, and posts from pages you don’t ‘Like’, but that Facebook thinks you’ll enjoy.
In a statement, Facebook said: “We are testing a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, customised for each person based on content that might be interesting to them. We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore new content they haven’t connected with yet.”
Facebook has been under pressure to modify its News Feed algorithms to provide a better roster of content. Many critics say that Facebook keeps users in a “bubble” by only showing them content they’ve liked, limiting the amount of external content they receive, and might have otherwise enjoyed. This new ‘rocket’ feed could be the perfect solution, allowing users to quickly switch between content from friends and liked pages to new content they wouldn’t normally see.
This new page feed will probably also work using algorithms, and will find content based on things you’ve previously liked. However, there’s no guarantee that the feature will ever roll out globally. Facebook regularly tests new features, and could decide to scrap the rocket ship icon if it doesn’t work as intended. Similarly, Facebook could retain the new feature but scrap the rocket logo.
The bad news is that if you want the rocket ship but haven’t got it, there’s no way of manually signing up to get it. Facebook doesn’t have an enrol option for this new feature, so getting the rocket is simply a matter of luck.
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What do you think of Facebook’s new feed concept? Let us know in the comments.