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Facebook News Feed turns 10 today

In one way or another, Facebook users had to deal with News Feed. Be it a scorned or a pleasant interaction, one doesn’t have much choice in the matter. It seems like yesterday that the News Feed was a contentious issue amongst Facebook users but time flies and the feature is now 10 years old.

One cannot, at least now, think of the social network and not think of News Feed but the feature hasn’t always been there. For more than two years in fact, Facebook had no News Feed, just friends’ profiles. Zuckerberg admitted on his Facebook profile that the feature wasn’t immediately popular with many users.

He points out that the social network always has a long term vision which helps its community in the long run. The introduction of News Feed was so controversial that it saw about a million users join a protest group that threatened to quit the platform.

“I remember there were actual protesters in the streets outside our office demanding we change,” Mark Zuckerberg reminisces.

Read more: Facebook News feed will now show you Live Video first, then everything else

Over the years Facebook has launched many products but News Feed remains close to Zuckerberg’s heart.

“This invention is one of my favourite stories from Facebook’s history. Sometimes people talk about the ‘idea’ behind Facebook, as if it was a single concept that came out fully formed. But Facebook, like everything, is made of many ideas and inventions,” the CEO said.

Over the past 10 years, News Feed has had many ideas, features and interfaces and thus it’s worth celebrating its 10th birthday and that it has survived until now. There was floating videos while scrolling, showing live videos first, showing larger and brighter designs, cracking down on hoaxes and spam and auto playing videos.

“Technically, News Feed is one of the most advanced systems we’ve built. For more than one billion people every day, it considers everything your friends are posting and all of the media content you might be interested in, it considers how much you might care about updates from each person or interest, and then it tries to show you what you’ll find most important.”

“Nothing like it has ever been built before,” Zuckerberg says.

Read more: Facebook is now a publisher, launches Instant Articles

In its own research, Facebook concluded that the News Feed should do two things, one of which is to inform the users with meaningful, interesting stories and the other is that News Feed should be entertaining. News Feed is also very much a nostalgic feature, be it for good or bad times.

Writing on Facebook, Zuckerberg says that News Feed was a pioneering product in many ways.

“News Feed was the first real social feed. It was such a fundamental idea that now, 10 years later, every major social app has its own equivalent of News Feed.”

News Feed is at the centre of users’ experience and has allowed Facebook to launch many products using it. It’s unimaginable what it will look like in the next 10 years but for now it has had an impressive decade.

Author | Myolisi Sikupela: Staff Reporter

Myolisi Sikupela: Staff Reporter
Myolisi Sikupela was born in the Transkei in the village of Zikhovane. He is interested in the politics of technology. More