Facebook revealed today that it is altering the news feed in its mobile apps, to make its content more accessible to users in developing countries who might have slower Internet connections. The social network is also introducing the ability to comment on stories while offline.
According to a company blog post, Facebook is making a change that will update the news feed even when Internet access is spotty:
In the past, if you were on a poor internet connection or had no connection, you might need to wait for stories to load when you opened News Feed. We are now testing an update in which we look at all the previously downloaded stories present on your phone that you have not yet viewed, and rank them based on their relevance. We also factor in whether the images for the story are available. This way we can immediately display relevant stories you haven’t seen yet, instead of showing a spinner while you wait for new stories. When we receive new stories from the server when you’re back online, we load and rank those stories normally.
Why are they making these changes? Facebook sees emerging markets, where users are coming online for the first time, as a significant growth area. Many of those users are primarily using Facebook on their phones, and data connections can be erratic.
While the changes are largely intended for those users, Facebook says they will also benefit mobile users who access the app on the subway, at sporting events, or in buildings with poor reception.
[via The Verge]