Here’s an update that will have no impact on anything, other than the name itself.
Today, Facebook has announced that it’s renaming the ‘News Feed’, the main element of the app, to simply ‘Feed’ in order to simplify branding.
Primarily, Facebook is making the change because the mention of ‘news’ in ‘News Feed’ was apparently confusing for some.
As reported by Alex Heath from The Verge, the “news” label has led some to believe that there are only news stories in the main stream, but not necessarily posts by friends.
Which doesn’t seem overly likely. I mean, Facebook has more than 2.9 billion users, so most people are fairly familiar with how the app works, and what gets displayed in the main feed by now, so the idea that there’s some confusion, based on terminology, seems a little strange.
But then again, while most of the western world is familiar with Facebook, many other regions are still in the initial adoption process, and for these newcomers, maybe there is a level of confusion as to what ‘News Feed’ means, in regards to the content that they see. At the same time, it’s not like there’s a big ‘News Feed’ title at the top of the app, so how such association would actually, practically occur, I’m not really clear.
Still, maybe Facebook’s parent company Meta sees this as a way to re-ignite usage – because maybe, possibly, it believes that people are getting confused by the ‘News Feed’ descriptor, and simply not using Facebook at all as a result.
Facebook’s daily active usage did decline in the most recent quarter, the first time it’s ever registered a loss in daily usage. That could well have been enough to prompt the change.
But technically, practically, the update means nothing.
In a press release, Facebook reiterated that:
“This is just a name change to better reflect the diverse content people see on their Feeds. This is just a name change and does not impact the app experience more broadly.”
So it has no impact on what the News Feed is, or does, and it will not change the News Feed (now ‘Feed’) algorithm or alter your in-app experience.
It’s just a title switch, and given that many Meta execs have referred to it as ‘Feed’ for some time anyway, it seems like a fairly minor update.
But you will have to change your references, and how you talk about the app. Now, it’s ‘the Feed algorithm is radicalizing people’, and ‘the Feed is fueled by anger and division, which is why Facebook is bad for the world’.
Details matter in such context.