Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg listens to a question during a
media event at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park,
California. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Facebook Inc has introduced a visually richer, mobile
device-oriented "newsfeed", in the most significant changes to
date for the social network's most recognizable feature.
The changes to the newsfeed, whose look and feel has remained
largely unchanged since its inception, include a division
into several sections, with separate areas for photographs
and music. They will begin rolling out in limited fashion
The overhaul, which standardizes the feed across mobile
devices and desktop computers, is designed to keep users
active and interacting as well as appeal to advertisers, as
Facebook battles Google Inc for Internet market share.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg had singled out the feature as in need of
a makeover as recently as January, when the company
introduced "graph search" to address inadequacies in allowing
users to trawl for information across the world's largest
Facebook's newsfeed, an ever-changing stream of photos,
videos and comments uploaded from friends, is the first page
most users see upon logging in. It is one of three "pillars"
of the service, along with search and user profiles.
The last major update to the feature occurred in September
2011. Since then, the company has incorporated ads directly
into the feed and has shifted its focus to creating
"mobile-first experiences," because more people now access
the social network from smartphones and desktops than from
The addition of advertising, however, prompted complaints
from users who preferred an unblemished stream of personally
relevant comments, underscoring the difficulty in balancing
advertiser-friendly formats - such as larger images - with
keeping its 1 billion-plus members engaged.
FACEBOOK VERSUS GOOGLE
The world's largest social network is moving to regain Wall
Street's confidence after a botched IPO last year, addressing
concerns about its long-term prospects - many of which center
on an industry-wide shift toward the use of mobile devices.
Facebook shares, which are still more than a quarter off
their IPO price of $38, were up 2 percent at $27.99 on
Thursday afternoon on the Nasdaq.
Facebook and Google, which both got their start on desktop
computers, are now managing a transition of their products
onto smartphones and tablets, which typically yield less
revenue than on PCs.
The two Internet mainstays are also waging a war for revenue
in mobile advertising - a market that is still small compared
with the traditional desktop but that is growing
In terms of overall mobile advertising, Google commanded a
53.5 percent share in 2012, aided by its dominance in
search-based ads. Facebook had just 8.4 percent, a distant
runner-up, according to estimates from research house
But in terms of mobile display ad sales, Facebook narrowly
edges out its rival with 18.4 percent of the market versus
Google's 17 percent, the research outfit estimated.