Facebook’s rumored redesign has arrived.
Starting Thursday, the platform is splitting up its main “home” section into two tabs. The move is part of a push by Facebook to show users more entertaining, recommended content — to become what cofounder Mark Zuckerberg has called a “discovery engine” — as it seeks to better compete with rivals like TikTok for users’ time and attention.
Now, when users open Facebook (FB), they will see a home tab designed to help them discover new content based on personalized, machine learning-powered recommendations. The home tab will also feature Facebook (FB) Stories and Instagram Reels, which the company is now encouraging users to post to both platforms.
Beside the home tab will be a new “feeds” tab that won’t contain any suggested content, but rather will let users see the most recent posts from friends, as well as groups and pages they follow. Within the feeds tab, users can also create a “favorites” feed to filter the friends, pages and groups they care most about.
Both tabs will still include advertisements, according to the company. And the other tabs users are used to, such as Facebook Watch and Groups, will remain the same.
“We understand you may want more options when it comes to sorting and seeing your content,” the company said in a statement. “There are times you might know just what you’re looking for — say, the latest posts from your groups — or you may want to encounter fresh, entertaining content.”
The new look for the platform comes on the heels of an announcement last week that Facebook will now allow users to have up to five profiles under each account. Facebook said the option is intended to make it easier for users to tailor their experience when engaging with certain communities — say, friends versus coworkers — on the platform.
For years, Facebook and its sibling platform Instagram have been accused of copying the popular new features of rival platforms instead of innovating their own. Instagram Reels, which Meta is now attempting to more deeply integrate into Facebook, are nearly identical to TikTok videos (in fact, when the feature first launched, many users simply uploaded TikTok videos to Instagram, complete with the rival logo). The platform updates also seem like an attempt to mimic TikTok’s success at keeping users hooked by showing them recommended content, although Facebook appears to want to give users some choice in engaging with the new direction or continuing to use the platform as they always have.
Facebook parent company Meta is trying to stave off fierce competition from TikTok, which is contributing to slowing profit growth at the company. In February, Meta shocked investors by posting a rare stalling in quarterly user growth, a trend tha t reversed slightly in the first quarter of this year. The company is set to report earnings next week for the three months ended in June, for which it had projected total revenue of between $28 billion and $30 billion — an estimate that would be nearly in line with the prior year’s results.
Meta is in the midst of transitioning to a company centered around a future, augmented- and virtual-reality enabled “metaverse,” rather than social media. But it needs to keep raking in profits from its existing platforms to fund investments into that vision.
The new feeds tab will start appearing in Facebook’s shortcuts bar for some users on Thursday, and is expected to roll out globally over the next week.