Facebook Mobile App Developers Testing Topical News Feeds

January 26, 2016 - 3 minutes read

Facebook mobile app

The mobile app development team at Facebook is in the news again this week as users notice an intriguing new feature rolling out: multiple, topical news feeds. Similar to the special interest feeds launched on the web app last fall and the standalone Facebook Paper app, the new feature will allow users to toggle between feeds based on interest areas like “travel,” “Headlines,” and “style.”

Facebook has gotten some negative press recently as rumors surfaced of a purposeful mobile app crash to “test” user’s devotion to the iconic web service (with 1 in 9 people worldwide maintaining accounts, surely they don’t have too much to worry about). Consequently, the launch of specialized feeds — largely in response to public requests for the feature — could play well in the media as the mobile app developers behind the Facebook iOS and Android apps work to regain a positive public image.

At the same time, Facebook is also making initial tests of a “marketplace” feature to capitalize on the already thriving sales economy that exists within the app, making it easier than ever before for users to leverage social proof and extended networks to monetary ends. Whether or not rolling out a feature like this could unsettle the likes of Craigslist remains to be seen — but at the very least it could push Craigslist to work with a Los Angeles iPhone app development company to bring their service out of the nineties. (Not that there isn’t anything charming about Craigslist’s appearance.)

Both the multiple feeds and marketplace features will be slow to roll out to the general public, according to statements from Facebook’s mobile app development team. It’ll be weeks to months before most of us get to toy around with the new settings — or take advantage of any wide-reach sales leverage. Said a company spokesperson in a meeting with The Verge:

“The experience will continue to evolve as we learn more about what’s useful for people and effective for businesses. We’re still in the early stages of testing and will continue to update the experience as we learn more about what works best.”

For startups and mobile app developers, advanced news feed and sales features could be a godsend or a death sentence — depending on their service details, and relationship with social media to drive brand recognition.

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