Facebook’s 'related articles' feature debuted back in 2013 with the intention of giving users more content to jump to, when reading about popular topics, and today Facebook has announced that it is testing a tweak to the feature that will display related articles in a slightly different way. The change brings related articles to a space right below the article you’re seeing posted, and is meant to allow users to check out different takes on a single news topic, as well as providing alternate sources for background information and fact-checking, all in one place, and at the same time as the original article. The feature is currently in limited testing, and will be rolling out to News Feeds over the next few weeks.
Facebook’s press release did not say how long the testing period would last for, or how the company will choose which profiles and pages the new Related Articles view appears on. Although, the release did say that the feature should not affect anybody’s reach or audience. This means that pages and people, for the most part, should continue posting things as they always have done. The new Related Articles view likely only show up on randomly selected posts, from randomly selected profiles. Likewise, depending on how the test goes will determine whether or not the feature ends up getting a wider rollout.
This latest feature is one of many changes that Facebook has been making in regards to their News Feed feature in recent months. While not outright stating in the announcement that the rollout of this feature was directly related to the outbreak of fake news around the web, it does seem to highly be in sync with measures that the company has announced recently to help stop the spread of fake news. An aspect which many news agencies and sites seem intent on battling, with Facebook and others looking to fight the issue in their own ways. Including helping users to be more informed about how to determine if what they’re seeing is fake news, and keeping false articles from making their way onto users’ screens in the first place.