Facebook tryst with Explore Feed hits record-low drop in organic reach of newsfeed

Speculations arise that Facebook could be gearing up for a permanent transfer of posts by pages to the Explore Feed to further monetise the main newsfeed.

Facebook has recently tested an extremely different Explore Feed in six countries than the rest of the world to redefine its news reach. While the experimental feature seems to be working well in most countries, the version in Cambodia, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Serbia and Guatemala turns out to be a problematic one in terms of organic reach.

Earlier in the week, Facebook globally rolled out the Explore Feed and in most countries, this feature is offered as bookmarks giving users an avenue to discover new content. The trick, however, appeared in six aforementioned countries, to begin with.

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In Cambodia and Guatemala, it has been reported that all posts by pages, which are normally seen in the main newsfeed, can now be seen in the Explore Feed. All posts in the main newsfeed are now posts from friends and advertisements. This rendered a drastic record-low downtrend on organic reach. A similar impact has been reported in Slovakia where Facebook pages of 60 news organisations have four times fewer interactions since the pilot.

Speculations have surfaced that Facebook could be gearing up for an indefinite transfer of posts by pages to the Explore Feed to further monetise the main newsfeed in a way that page owners would have to buy their space. Even so, Facebook head of News Feed Adam Mosseri has clarified in his post on Monday, October 23 that they neither have plans to launch this feature worldwide as of now nor make money out of this radical change.

"We currently have no plans to roll this test out further," writes Mosseri. "There is no current plan to roll this out beyond these test countries or to charge pages on Facebook to pay for all their distribution in News Feed or Explore."

He further states that the purpose of the test is to have "one dedicated space for people to keep up with their friends and family, and another separate space, called Explore, with posts from pages." As to when this test will end, Mosseri said in a previous statement that it might last for a few months.

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