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Facebook debuts restructured news feeds

By Caroline McCarthy
Facebook added a "live feed" to its homepage this week.
Facebook added a "live feed" to its homepage this week.
  • Facebook updates its page, reverting to something similar to a past design
  • The site features a "live feed" and a friend-specific news feed
  • The changes were expected to be posted on Friday afternoon
  • Changes to Facebook's home page are hotly debated among the site's users
  • Facebook Inc.
  • Internet
  • Media

(CNET) -- Facebook members will start to see a new look for their home page "news feeds" on Friday, with the design now featuring a toggle view between a main view, featuring the top stories from their friends list based on their Facebooking habits, and a "live feed" featuring real-time updates from the whole network.

"When the user wakes up in the morning, you go to Facebook and you see [the] news feed," product manager Peter Deng told CNET News. "You see the stuff that you missed, the best of the previous day, to basically catch you up on what your friends have been up to."

This is sort of bringing Facebook's design back to an earlier version. This spring, likely inspired by the hype surrounding Twitter's "stream," Facebook converted its home page news feed into a feed of live updates and relegated "highlights" to a small column on the right side of the page. Plenty of members absolutely hated it, even though Facebook execs have since said that the redesign didn't result in a drop in traffic or usage.

Deng said that the design released Friday, which will be rolling out to the social network's massive user base over the course of the day starting at 1 p.m. ET, was put together by "responding to a lot of feedback along the way."

Birthday and event alerts are now more prominent, and the news feed also contains stories that stopped appearing when Facebook launched the stream-inspired home page: relationship status news, photos added and tagged, and the like. Brands' fan pages will be worked in there, too, but Deng said Facebook does not allow them to pay for higher placement or prominence. User controls will stay the same: you can opt to see fewer updates from a given person or fan page.

The upcoming redesign was leaked earlier this week via a document distributed to advertisers. But Deng said that the company has "made a few user interface tweaks since then."

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