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Facebook to allow users to sort news feed

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (March 7, 2013) Credit: AP

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Facebook has redesigned its social network to address complaints that the news feed on its website has turned into a jumble of monotonous musings and random photos.

In an attempt to breathe new life into the news feed, the company will introduce controls that allow people to sort streams of photos and other material into organized sections.

With the makeover unveiled Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes to turn the news feed into something more like a newspaper tailored to the particular interests of each of the social network's more than 1 billion worldwide users.

Previous tweaks to the news feed have triggered protests among Facebook's users. Hoping to minimize the grousing this time, Facebook intends to roll out the changes in phases.

It will probably be six months to a year before everyone who accesses Facebook on a personal computer sees the revamped news feed, the company said.

The new features will enable users to choose streams of content that may feature nothing but photos or posts from their closest friends, family members or favorite businesses.

Or they will be able to peruse content about music, or sports, as if they were grabbing a section of a newspaper.

By adding more personal touches, Facebook is acknowledging that the computer-generated formulas that it has been using to determine the content shown to each user have become less effective as the social circles within its network have widened to include a more diverse array of information.

More space on the news feed's front page and other sections' space will be devoted to pictures and video.

These visual elements have become dominant features on Facebook because smartphones and tablet computers are equipped with high-quality cameras that make it easier to share snapshots and clips.

About 50 percent of the posts on news feed include a photo or video, up from 25 percent in late 2011, Zuckerberg said.

Wall Street seems to think the redesigned news feed might be a step in the right direction. Facebook's stock gained $1.13, or 4.1 percent, to close at $28.58 in Thursday's regular trading.


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