Facebook has introduced a new feature enabling users to save posts, links, and the like that comes up in their newsfeed. "Every day, people find all sorts of interesting items on Facebook that they don't have time to explore right away," writes software engineer Daniel Giambalvo on the company's blog. "Now you can save items that you find on Facebook to check out later when you have more time."
Now, when you click on a post, an icon -- much like, if not identical to, newsreader Feedly's "Save For Later" option -- appears that allows the user to stash that page or article for when there's more time to check it out. Those items then appear in the "Saved" category, which can be found on the "More" section of Facebook's iOS or Android app, or on the left-hand side of the website (because the feature is being rolled out over the next few days, as of this writing it had yet to appear when Billboard tried to find it). Once items are saved, they can be archived or shared with Facebook friends by swiping right on the mobile app. Archived posts will then occasionally reappear in the user's newsfeed as reminders.
One additional update not mentioned in the blog post (that can be found in Facebook's Help Center) is that a user's likes -- movies, books, TV shows, and music -- are no longer public on that person's page. Now, they will be found in the "Saved Items" section, where they are only visible to the user and friends, if chosen to be shared.
The change reflects steps Facebook has been taking to better personalize and thus streamline its newsfeed, which came under scrutiny recently for a study on how news post selection influenced 700,000 users' on an emotional level. Such tactics are necessary, wrote Facebook's Brian Bolan in June, because without filters, users would have to sift through up to 15,000 posts; especially since the total number of pages liked grew 50% in 2013, according to TechCrunch. Additionally, a March study found that 30 percent of U.S. adults get their news from their Facebook feed and 22 percent believed the social media hub was a good place to find news.
The upshot of all this is that both Facebook and its users need a little help deciding which news to read and remember, and by making its newsfeed slightly more like web readers such as Feedly, the company is increasing its users' investment and platform engagenement beyond a surface level interest in friends' and liked pages' activities. It's possible that Facebook will incorporate users' saved items into newsfeed algorithms (besides certain archived posts occasionally showing up), influencing how frequently certain news shows up.
In terms of music, artists' Facebook fans will also benefit; for example, it's obviously impossible to listen to multiple artists' newly posted songs at the same time, so it's handy to be able to save a song for later while listening to another (multitasking!). Mostly, the "Save" feature allows Facebook to function like a more traditional arts and culture news site in the sense that posts stay on the site -- in this case, the user's personalized homepage -- as opposed to getting lost as new articles are posted. Coupled with individual curation, Facebook also starts to look more and more like traditional news readers (R.I.P. Google Reader).
Facebook has been introducing a lot of new features lately. In March, the company rolled out an "Events" tab with events promoter Live Nation, giving users a direct line to Ticketmaster. A few months later, Facebook installed an audio recognition feature so that users could tag posts or status updates with a "song of the moment."