Facebook Pushes the Hybrid News Feed to its iPhone App, Android App, and Mobile Site

Facebook has updated its mobile site m.facebook.com with the hybrid news feed launched for the web version of the site that it had launched on Monday. Since the Facebook for iPhone and Android apps both pull the news feed from the mobile site, the 93 million daily active users of the two apps now also see a single feed with Top Stories followed by Recent Stories. Users of these mobile interfaces no longer have the option to view separate Top News and Most Recent feeds.

For most users, there’s now no escaping the sweeping changes Facebook implemented this week. While those who never realized they could switch between relevancy-sorted and reverse-chronological feeds will now be more likely to see fresh, compelling updates, others who grew accustomed to bouncing between the feeds may be displeased that they need to alter their behavior.

At the top of their feed, mobile users will see now Top Stories, followed by Recent Stories, and finally “From Earlier Today” which includes older Top Stories and Recent Stories. Since the two popular smart phones apps pull the news feed from the mobile site, Facebook was able to make just a single code changes to update both the iPhone and Android app interfaces without requiring users to download a software update.

Facebook uses a variety of signals to determine what updates become Top Stories, denoted with a blue triangle in the top left corner. On the web version users can mark and unmark updates as Top Stories. Mobile users don’t have this option, and must accept the decisions of the EdgeRank news feed sorting algorithm.

However, users can filter the news feed according to type of update, such as Status Updates, Events, or Photos. Facebook has also made its new Smart Lists available as mobile news feed filters in addition to all of a user’s manually built Friend Lists. These give users some options if they’re not content with what they’re seeing in the new default “All Stories” feed.

The hybrid news feed feels a bit more natural on mobile, where a quick, lightweight experience works better than having a ton of options like on the web. While many users are still complaining about the web interface changes and the introduction of the Ticker, we believe some of the announcements made later today at the f8 conference will illuminate the importance of the recent redesign.

Users shouldn’t expect the mobile changes to stop, as we hear Facebook may release a major redesign of its popular smart phone apps. It might also launch the standalone mobile photos app that leaked in June. We’ll be providing deep analysis of what the announcements at f8 mean to users and developers, so check back later today.

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