Some Facebook users are seeing a new “recent articles” module that highlights news stories related to a page that a user has Liked.
A Facebook spokesperson tells us, “This unit is a test of a new kind of News Feed story that makes it easier to find content that you might be interested in.”
The unit pulls from a range of sources and includes popular links that are being shared on the social network. The articles do not have to be from social reader applications and they do not have to have been posted by a page the user is connected to. Instead it lets users know about articles they might not have seen already but would be interested in based on their page Likes.
The module is similar to the “most shared articles” feature we found Facebook testing last month. That unit suggests popular articles from news sources that users have Liked.
Facebook has a “trending articles” module in News Feed, which displays activity from Open Graph news reader apps and is not related to Facebook pages that users Like. On fan pages, users can see a list of top related news stories based on Open Graph activity, but that also looks at stories from all time rather than focusing on recent news like the latest News Feed unit does.
As we’ve written about recently, News Feed has traditionally been a place to see stories and activities from friends and pages users have explicitly connected to, but Facebook seems to be experimenting with using Open Graph data and other cues to generate new types of stories. For example, we’ve seen the social network testing “upcoming events,” “upcoming concerts” and “recently released albums” units in the feed. These look beyond the social connections a user has and takes into consideration their interests. We’ve heard complaints from some users who say they don’t want to see items in News Feed that aren’t from friends, but if Facebook can offer relevant recommendations, other users may find these modules useful.
Page owners, however, may not appreciate that they have no control over the unit, which in some situations could show negative articles about their brand.
Thanks to Tom Waddington for the tip and the screenshot.