Facebook splits its News feed in two as it balances desire to compete with TikTok

Facebook has split the News feed into two separate sections, one of which is focused on discovery with posts, reels, stories and similar TikTok-style content.

Two Facebook screenshots side by side showing the difference between the Home tab and the Feeds one
There’s some overlap between the two feeds | Image: Meta / Twitter
  • Facebook announced that its powerful News feed is getting split in two separate tabs, Home and Feeds, to  better separate discovery from friends’ posts.
  • These two tabs began rolling out in Facebook’s mobile app on July 21, 2022. It may take a week or two for the change to reach all users of the app.
  • Meta, Facebook’s parent company, seems insecure facing strong competition. The company has been changing its Instagram and Facebook apps to provide more of a TikTok-like fullscreen entertainment experience.

The Facebook News feed gets split in two new sections

According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post, making sure people don’t miss friends’ posts has been one of the most requested features for Facebook. That’s why the company is introducing a new Feeds tab alongside the Home tab.

The Home feed opens by default

Four iPhone screenshots showing the Home tab and the new Feed tab in the Facebook app
The Home and Feeds tabs in the Facebook app | Image: Meta

Reels, stories and other posts from friends and family in the Home tab are surrounded by personalized content recommendations that Facebook’s machine learning-based discovery engine thinks you’ll care most about. Zuckerberg says the mobile app will still open to a personalized feed on the Home tab. In fact, the Home feed should become “more of a discovery engine” going forward.

The Feeds tab: Posts from pages you actually follow

The new Feeds tab shows recent posts from pages you follow, plus posts from your friends and groups you’re a member of. There are still going to be ads in the Feeds tab but no “Suggested For You” posts in sight, Zuckerberg promises. The Feeds tab is sorted chronologically and you have options to customize and control your experience further. For instance, you can sort content in the Feeds tab by favorites, friends, groups, pages and more, just like before this change.

When will these changes go live?

Once these separate feeds launch in your copy of the Facebook app [App Store link], you’ll be able to switch between the two sections by holding the navigation bar at the bottom. Meta expects the changes to roll out globally over the coming week.

Facebook is becoming a ghost town

The almighty News feed has been Facebook’s secret weapon for keeping users engaged with the platform. But the rise of social media apps such as Snapchat and TikTok has very much hurt the blue app. Facebook has an aging user base as most youngsters have fled the platform. They are now using Snapchat to communicate and exchange pictures and TikTok to get their daily fix of cool videos. And Meta has nothing resembling those apps to offer to them. This is why the company has resorted to what it does best: Shameless copying.

A struggle to compete with TikTok

TikTok became such a huge global phenomenon, and Meta has had enough of it so it’s decided to copy TikTok’s fullscreen concept and focus on video entertainment. The company seems to be leaning heavily on algorithmically recommended feeds to slow the march of TikTok. Read: How to permanently delete your Facebook account

Will copying competition prove worth it in the end?

Instagram has made similar changes to make it feel more like TikTok. Recently, for example, it launched the new “Following” and “Favorites” chronological feeds which show the latest posts from your followers and favorite accounts. And now, the same process of mimicking TikTok’s approach is happening on Facebook. Whether that strategy will pay any dividends down the road remains to be seen but the clock is ticking for the blue app, which actually lost daily users for the first time in the last quarter of 2021. Read: How to lock your Facebook profile