Facebook Splits Publisher Into Status, Questions, Photos, and Links

Those with access to Facebook’s Questions feature are seeing a new design of the home page publisher used to share status updates and other sorts of content. Users must now decide whether they want to publish a simple status update, a question, upload a photo, or post a link and website preview. While displaying the different things you can do with the publisher, the design change hides the status update prompt “What’s on your mind?” and the rest of the publisher behind an additional click, which could reduce sharing.

Previously, users were always greeted to the home page with the status update prompt, which folded out to reveal options to post photos, video, events or links. However, a user could simply input a Facebook event URL or a link to a website, and the publisher would adapt to the post. Video and event options have now been removed. If one tries to post an event URL into the status box, it only shows the URL, while posting it into the link publisher returns an error stating “Application sent an invalid response”.

When a user chooses to upload a photo, a status update-esque input field appears prompting them to “Say something about this photo…”. You could add text to be published with the photos using the old publisher, but no prompt explained the relationship between the text and photo.

Using the publisher to post a question instead of the Questions application itself will increase the likelihood that it will be seen by friends, according to a Questions answer by Facebook’s Zach Ritter. In an effort to educate users about the privacy implications of using the Questions applications, the Question input field with the prompt “What do you want to know?” is accompanied by a warning “Your questions will be visible to everyone”.

Splitting up the publisher may help remind users of the different types of content they can share. Facebook wants to strengthen their position as a portal to third-party sites, and placing a “Post Link” button on the home page may increase traffic driven. However, requiring an extra click to use the publisher could decrease sharing and increase spectating, stagnating the news feed.