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Facebook Makes Another Accommodation For People With Slower Connections
People with sketchy or no connection to the internet will be shown unviewed stories already loaded in their phones.
Facebook’s latest News Feed update aims to make sure people with slower internet connections still have good stuff to thumb through on their phones.
Like most of Facebook’s slow-connection efforts, the update is primarily intended to improve the mobile experience for people in the developing world, where Facebook is seeing its fastest growth, but should also be a welcome change for those who temporarily are without a strong connection to the internet.
Here’s what’s new. Previously, people with sketchy cell signals had to wait for stories to load in Facebook’s mobile app. Now Facebook will look at all the previously downloaded stories that have not been viewed yet, rank them based on relevance and display them for users. It will also factor in whether images associated with the story are available.
Facebook explained more about the update in a blog post:
“This way we can immediately display relevant stories you haven’t seen yet, instead of showing a spinner while you wait for new stories. When we receive new stories from the server when you’re back online, we load and rank those stories normally.
“We rank relevant, already downloaded stories upon startup of the app, when you navigate to News Feed from the app or pull down to refresh stories at the top of your feed, or as you are scrolling through your News Feed.
“We’re also testing improvements to keep these stories up to date throughout the day by periodically retrieving new stories when you have a good connection. This helps us make sure the stories we have available are the most relevant and current.”
Facebook also will now allow people to comment on stories when they are offline with the comments being posted the next time an internet connection is established.
Facebook said the updates won’t affect the overall News Feed ranking algorithm.