Facebook Adjusts News Feed To Load Better In The 2G World
The social network is now adjusting and prioritizing what people see in the News Feed depending on the speed of their mobile internet connection.
Facebook’s latest change to the News Feed is aimed squarely at the developing world.
That’s where the social network is signing up most of its new users, and because many of those people are connecting via slower 2G mobile connections, Facebook is making technical accommodations. Using a Facebook-created open-source “Network Connection Class,” Facebook is able to sniff out how fast a person’s connection is and serve content in the News Feed accordingly.
People on slower connections will see fewer bandwidth-hogging videos and more text and photo updates. They will also able to read the story they are looking at while the rest of the News Feed is loading in the background, but in a way that prioritizes the content currently in view. Facebook has now been displaying photos in progressive JPEG format, meaning that it can display lower-quality versions of images while they are loading.
Facebook says the net result is that people will always have stories available to scroll through. And that’s true even when the connection is so bad that no new stories can be loaded. In such cases, which include times when users have no internet access (during an airline flight, for instance), the News Feed will display stories from previous visits until the user can connect again.
“Even though we load stories from previous visits to News Feed, we don’t re-retrieve these stories that you have already seen, so we aren’t wasting more data,” Facebook wrote in a blog post about the update. “However, if something about the story has changed — for example if the number of comments and likes has changed or if the post was deleted — we will make updates when you see the story again.”
For more information about the update, see the Facebook News Feed FYI post.