Facebook has launched a "pages-only" news feed where users can see a complete feed of updates from brands and properties they follow, rather than updates from their friends, The Next Web reported Wednesday. The move may be a partial answer to page owner outrage over drops in traffic volume that seemed to coincide with the introduction of paid post promotion for page owners.
Many page owners, Ars included, noticed in the last few months that traffic driven by brand pages has seemed low. This seemed to drop around the time that page owners could start paying money to increase the reach of a post. But Facebook insisted to Ars and other outlets that the two events were not related.
We noted earlier in November that the drop in page traffic could well be a problem of volume in users’ feeds, as the average page has a reach of tens of thousands of fans and posts once per day. A Facebook product manager told TechCrunch the company has seen an increase in reports of spam, often on page posts that users perceive to be low-value. Facebook in turn quieted the reach of pages to keep news feeds engaging to users.
Page owners could make the argument that subscribers want to see every post from brands or properties they follow; the new Pages section seems intended to provide that possibility. When users visit that section, they will see updates only from pages they’ve liked, as opposed to the news feed, which shows an algorithmically curated amalgam of content from pages and friends (as well as sponsored stories and ads).
Whether users will ever bother with this secondary display of content is another matter. Since the Pages feed demands extra effort from consumers to be certain they’re seeing every update, we have our doubts that all but the most thorough of users will ever even discover it, let alone make regular use of it.