Facebook has begun testing a new content distribution product that injects news stories and other types of content into users' news feeds even though they haven't liked the story.
The product examines your history of likes and interests, as well as a story's history of being shared on Facebook, and then takes a guess that you'll like the story too.
Here's one example:
Facebook confirmed to Business Insider that the product was in test mode: "These units are tests of new kinds of news feed stories that makes it easier to find content that you might be interested in."
Here's another version of the product:
Facebook also monitors "most shared" lists on other sites to draw content from.
The product could potentially be huge for advertisers who are good at creating compelling, viral content that is widely shared on Facebook. It will also likely be welcomed by publishers who need social media sharing in Facebook to drive traffic.
The product will also be watched carefully by Twitter, which recently has become an important distributor of news content. Although Twitter has a smaller user base, many of its users are more active in sharing content with each other.
This move suggests Facebook does not want to cede the "viral content" arena to Twitter.
It does have one aspect that may create resistance from users: The feature will recommend posts from pages users are not linked to — and thus may annoy those who don't want unbidden content in their news feed.
Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.
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