San Francisco, London- Facebook Inc is testing a feature in the Facebook News Feed that provides customized links to news on topics of interest to individual users, as the company continues to search for ways to increase the amount of time that people spend using the world’s largest social media network.
The offering, called “Featured Topic,” is being tested on News Feed, the core of Facebook. Each selected item includes a couple of sentences of text on a subject, a link to a news story and a photo, according to an example seen by Reuters.
Facebook confirmed that the feature was in testing and said it was designed to help people discover stories that might be relevant to them.
The company makes frequent changes to the News Feed, typically testing potential features at length before making them official.
Facebook’s News Feed includes items posted by a user’s friends and family – displayed in an order according to Facebook’s algorithms – as well as ads and posts from outlets that a user likes. Many media companies, however, provide their subscribers with lists of stories that correspond to readers’ individual interests, based on their use of a news site.
Presenting news stories has been tricky for Facebook. In May 2016, Facebook changed the procedures behind its “Trending Topics” section after a news report alleged that the company had suppressed conservative news and a Republican US senator demanded more transparency.
Meanwhile, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday he would be taking two months of paternity leave after the birth of his second daughter.
Zuckerberg said he would be taking advantage of Facebook’s option to take leaves in parts.
“I’ll take a month off to be with Priscilla (Chan) and the girls at the beginning, and then we’ll spend the whole month of December together as well,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
Zuckerberg had also taken a two-month paternity leave following the birth of his first child, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg, in 2015.