Facebook pulls highlights back into the main news feed

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Taking aim at information overload, Facebook is now allowing users to see its news feed in two ways. They can either see a live stream with updates ordered by time, or the most interesting content as judged by comments and likes.

“While seeing real-time activities is extremely valuable, we also want to be sure you don’t miss other interesting content,” wrote Raylene Yung, a Facebook engineer, in a company blog post today.

Stories in the “News Feed” section are featured based on how much activity they’ve attracted from others and on a user’s prior behavior. Are they likely to click on videos? Or are there certain friends they’re more likely to interact with? Facebook used to relegate these to the “Highlights” section on the right-hand part of the page. There is also a Live Feed that shows activity as it’s happening.

The feed design resembles what’s on Facebook Lite, a more spare version of the social networking site designed for developing countries with slower Internet connections.

The company is also asking developers to simplify updates that are fed into the news feed. The images have to be smaller and Facebook will only initially show one photo connected to an update, unless a user clicks for more. Actions associated with an update have to be short (about 25 characters or less like “Comment”, “Like”, or “See More”), and outside developers can only include one action per item. Below: a view of what an item now looks like in your feed and what it looks like when you click on “See More”.

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