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Facebook: The difference between the “Live Feed” versus the “News Feed”

Friday, October 30th, 2009

As usual, anytime Facebook makes an update to their design, people swarm in droves to complain about it and rally against it. Since Facebook usually ignores that rally cry, I figure the new design is here to stay, and as such, I wanted to answer what I have found to be the most common question about the new design due to Facebook’s fairly poor naming convention.

newsvlive

What’s the difference between the “News Feed” and the “Live Feed”?

I am not surprised so many people are confused by this nomenclature for the two feeds since the feeds are storing the same kinds of information - news, status updates, links being shared, photos, and so forth. The difference, though, is that the Live Feed is only showing you a stream of information that was just shared, hence live, whereas the News Feed has replaced the Highlights section, showing you only those stories that Facebook thinks you might find Newsworthy*. This means the Live Feed is really by-the-minute, whereas the News Feed could be anything over the past week.

*For those who are extra-curious, the News Feed determines “newsworthy” stories to put into your feed based on an internal Facebook algorithm. For those particularly astute with the web, you, like me, may consider this a big change as it is beginning to put an algorithm for popularity more front-and-center for users. This type of algorithm is just what birthed search engine optimization specialists for Google.

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