Unboxing the New Facebook News Feed

The New Facebook Newsfeed

I got the new Facebook news feed last night. The screenshot above is what it looks like. It’s super awesome. A very small minority of people will hate it — because a very small minority of people will hate EVERYTHING. I’m not kidding. The way some people love to bitch blows my mind sometimes. Haters gonna hate.

Most of you will love it though. I think it’s the most significant improvement made to Facebook since Facebook started. If you’re a photographer, you especially will love it. Photos are bigger. Bigger photos have more impact. Bigger photos look better.

When you’re eligible for it you’ll notice a little “coming soon, less clutter, more stories” box on your news feed. There is a green button to press to give it a try. If you press that green button you get the loading message. I think there was one other notice window that popped up telling me that I couldn’t go back if I went forward with it, but I can’t remember 100% on this. After this loading box the new news feed pops up.

The Invite to Try the New Facebook Newsfeed
Woah! What’s this?

Loading the New Facebook Newsfeed
Almost there!

I’ve only played with the new news feed for a few hours, but here are just a few early observations.

1. Content in the new news feed feels ALOT like Google+. I’m not saying Facebook copied Google+ here, and imitation is, of course, the sincerest form of flattery and all that, but check out the two content envelopes side by side in the photo below. They are pretty darn close.

The New Facebook Newsfeed Feels ALOT Like Google+
Separated at Birth. Facebook new news feed on the left, Google+ on the right. Or wait, is it the other way around?

Personally speaking I have no problem with this by the way. I love competition on the web. With competition users win. Everybody should rip everybody off and make everything look as awesome as it possibly can.

2. Pictures are bigger and stand out more, but unfortunately so do all of those crappy memes and worse, sponsored posts (ugh! advertising — the new advertisement for McDonald’s new fish McNuggets feels even more intrusive). Please Facebook, let us pay you for a Pro account and let us opt out of all the horrible ads.

Photos Look Bigger and Better, but Unfortunately so do the Ads
That’s an awfully big advertisement for those new Fish McNuggets that McDonalds is selling.

The meme’s are really my own fault though. When I started Facebook years ago, I simply accepted every single friend request, whether I knew somebody or not. Hey, I’m a friendly guy. I now realize that was a mistake. I think as I unfriend the most egregious of the meme sharers this should improve a bit for me.

Sometimes though there is just that one person that for whatever reason you CAN’T unfriend. You know who I’m talking about. They’d take it really hard. Yet it’s that one person who keeps sharing the crappiest meme things on Facebook 50 times a day. If you’re that guy, knock it off. Sometimes I wish there was an easy way to permanently hide someone’s content without actually unfriending them.

Attack of the Facebook Killer Meme's, Now Bigger Than Ever in Your Timeline
Attack of the killer Facebook meme’s, now even bigger than ever!

Hey it’s a dog, hey it’s stripping. AWESOME!!!! I think I’ll reshare this on Facebook!

3. The hide button is broken. One of the things that I like about Facebook is their move fast and break things moto. Sometimes though this means that everything doesn’t work so well. I haven’t been able to reposition photos on my timeline for weeks now. My wife can’t upload photos directly to Facebook at all. She has to upload to an album and share from the album.

What I’ve found on the new news feed is that when I hide content, it doesn’t stay hidden. It stays hidden for that session, but if I refresh the page it comes back. I don’t know if this is just a bug for me or for everyone, but if I actually HATE something enough to hide it, I really, really don’t like it — and after I went through the pain of a two click effort, I’d really like it to stay permanently hidden from my news feed.

4. I still haven’t figured out exactly how Facebook is repositioning photos that are less ideal for their new envelope. It seems like some portrait aspect and square aspect photos are being stuffed into a landscape frame. It also seems like some are not though — it’s weird why some are and some aren’t. I wonder if there is some sort of algorithm at play here as well, because when photos are repositioned, a lot of the time it’s a pretty smart natural reposition. Like Facebook is focusing on the eyes in photos of people.

The apple screensheet below is from my friend Kelli Seeger Kim. It’s actually a portrait oriented photograph of two apples in a basket. If you click through the image you’ll see it correctly, but in the news feed the crop is less than ideal. So sometimes this feels a little awkward.

Sometimes Facebook Does Not Get the Repositioning for Portrait or Square Oriented Photos Just Right

Overall the new design is clean and light and lovely. It feels very smooth and really nice. Photos really pop now that they are bigger. I’d give this redesign two thumbs up!

Congrats to the Facebook team on the great work! You can find me on Facebook here. Come find me and let’s be friendly.

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  1. Nick P says:

    In terms of hiding those friends who over share, check out Social Fixer. Works cross most browsers and allows you to hide ads and sponsored posts, plus for those friends like the ones you mention, you can set up a rule to hide any posts from them that include a certain bit of text (for example “Bob shared”). That way you won’t see all the meme stuff but will still see their normal updates.

    PS: I’m not affiliated with Social Fixer, I just use it and think its great.

  2. Samantha W says:

    Hey Thomas!
    Just a quick note, (I’m assuming this hasn’t changed with the new feed) if you click on a friend’s profile and hover over the box that says “Friends” with a check mark, there’s an option for “Show in News Feed” that you can uncheck.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    Samantha! Brilliant! How am I so blind that I did not see that or know about that? Thanks!

  4. Abdullah Suleiman says:

    Thanks for the review Thomas!

    all the Facebook users was waiting for this update and specially the photographers, can’t wait to try mine 🙂

  5. Samantha W says:

    Hehe, it’s a well hidden option! It took me quite a while to discover it myself 🙂 Also I agree with Nick, Social Fixer is a fantastic add-on, I use it myself!! It takes a bit of fiddling to get everything just right, but it’s incredibly useful!

  6. Tyson Jerry says:

    I was just coming on here to say exactly what Samantha already did! A very useful tool indeed.

    Great statement about people loving to bitch!

  7. Ugh, fish McNuggets. At first, I really thought, “this must be a joke.”

    Hide button broken, oh noeees! I’m related to folks who have no “reshare discipline”, so to speak.

  8. Robin says:

    Positive review about Newsfeed 2013 🙂 good and i am waiting so eagerly to experience the all new facebook newsfeed. i already liked the concept of making everything bigger which i feel, it will be better. i hope it wont affect the speed.


  9. Roman.K says:

    Nice review, Waiting for mine and looking forward to something useful from the FB team

  10. jack says:

    FB COPIED Google plus. Now if they (FB) can stop blocking animal rescuers and let them save the lives of homeless, innocent animals, maybe I’ll go back- but Google plus has CLASS and doesn’t block rescuers from doing their jobs.

    Thank you GOOGLE PLUS !

  11. Jan Kabili says:

    Brilliant Samantha W. Thanks for the tip.

  12. LM says:

    As a person who manages pages and sometimes creates sponsored posts, I must say: I wouldn’t even want our sponsored posts big like that, ever. It’s just a recipe for annoying the **** out of our customers.

    Facebook has made it really difficult to advertise with them in a non-obnoxious way. Sponsored posts are pretty much the only platform that works (I don’t think the column ads work, period), but they’re not optimized for advertisers OR users. I feel like it would be better if they had a slightly different format for advertising, maybe a shorter image space of the same width? Something.

  13. michele says:

    I pressed the green button to get the new news feed. It has been stuck on the loading screen since yesterday. I cannot log out now and when I click on my fb icon all I get is the loading screen like the one above. Any suggestions on how to fix? I am using a Toshiba thrive tablet.

  14. judy says:

    I am not a bitcher. I was always the first one to voluntarily get whatever new things FB rolled out. Then I could walk my friends throught he changes. This one, however, I do not like. I don’t need a giant post telling me that one of my friends is now friends with someone else. I also don’t like the darkness of it (the grey background). And when I type in a comment, it is very pale, not bold. My business page looks the same, as do all of the business pages I visit and the pages I “liked”. Is there some way to keep the timeline I had last week? Anyone?

  15. Edin Orozco says:

    Hey Thomas, i’m writting you from Guatemala. Well, maybe my country is not too famous as another ones but i almost always got the updates of Facebook first than others… this time i have to wait a little bit longer… whatever… i just wanna ask you… how is the new messages (or Messenger as it said in the video)? can you tell me a little more of it… i will apreciate it! thanks! 😀

  16. Thanks for the preview!

  17. eam1120 says:

    i can’t see the give it a try button on my facebook can someone help me about it.. thanks in advance