The world has ended, and Facebook has already taken over traditional publishing houses as we know them. But that’s not all! Now, Facebook is testing a redesign of their Notes section–a spot previously for posting bloggy-style rants–and maybe unsurprisingly, it looks a whole lot like Medium, the publishing platform by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone.
Like Medium, the new page consists of a single, large top image, and a single column of text. Notably, Facebook has transitioned from Arial as a default font to Georgia–adopting serifs in the process. Serif fonts are traditionally thought to be better for reading longform content, so the change makes sense for a section of Facebook that’s promoting longer length musings. The designers were also allowed to ditch all ads and other sidebar content, making Notes appear downright anemic compared to the UI overkill of the rest of Facebook.
This latter point is of particular significance. Facebook is the pioneering, profitable company in social networking, but they run ads to make that money. Medium is just delving into their profit model, but thus far, it’s revolved around branded content–the white hot advertising that’s propelling publishing companies like BuzzFeed into the stratospheres of revenue. And so, if you’re a conspiracy theorist, you might see Facebook Notes as, not just a response to Medium as a longer length, open publishing platform, but a new type of advertisement opportunity unto itself to complement their micro ads in your feed. Notes could provide an infinitely long spot on Facebook for brands to run amok while paying for the privilege.
The newly designed Notes pages are being seen by a select few in their feeds now. Facebook has a tendency to test some experiments quite conservatively, so we’ve reached out to learn whether or not this rollout is planned to come to everyone.