"Fundamentally, we are a container for content that other people create," said Product VP Chris Cox. A Facebook team illustrated the ways the site's News Feed is changing in design and functionality for user consumption.
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook introduced a visually richer, mobile device-oriented "News Feed" on Thursday, in the most significant changes to date for the social network's most recognizable feature.
"What we are trying to do is give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper there is," said Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook hosted the event at its Menlo Park headquarters on Thursday to show off "a new look for News Feed." It was Facebook's second staged event at its headquarters since the company's initial public offering last May. The company unveiled a search feature in January.
The Facebook team revealed three areas that are rolling out beginning today: richer stories via more photo and video areas across the site, different ways to slice and dice the feeds according to categories, and consistency of user experience on mobile applications.
The rest of the changes will be rolled out "slowly and carefully" over several weeks, "taking into consideration feedback" the team receives, said Product Vice President Chris Cox.
Facebook: What's new about your homepage
If past site changes are any indication, the News Feed tweaks may take some getting used to and will likely lead to user grumbles. Facebook users often complain about changes to the site, whether it's cosmetic tweaks or the overhaul of privacy settings.
Today, Facebook Lead Designer Julie Zhuo assured, "We are delivering a richer, simpler, more beautiful News Feed that is focused on what you care about."
The event comes a month after a Pew study reported that many Facebook users take a break from the site for weeks at a time. The report, from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, found that some 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a hiatus for reasons that range from boredom to too much irrelevant information to Lent.
Overall, though, Facebook's user base is growing, especially on mobile devices. At last count it had 1.06 billion active monthly accounts. The number of people who access Facebook daily is also on the rise.
That said, even the company has acknowledged that some of its users, especially the younger ones, are migrating to substitutes, but so far this has not meant an overall decline in user numbers.
"For example, we believe that some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favor of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram," the company said last month in the "risk factors" of its annual 10-K filing. "In the event that our users increasingly engage with other products and services, we may experience a decline in user engagement, and our business could be harmed."
Facebook owns Instagram, but so far it has not shown any ads on it.
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