There is a chance it Facebook may be announcing a new hybrid feature for its news feed stories and posts. The company may potentially reimagine the navigation system of its main revenue stream. The social networking giant is already predicting that Facebook Stories sharing has the power to surpass the feed sharing across all the social networking apps by the end of this year. Facebook already boasts of some 300 million active daily users across its Stories platform on both Facebook and Messenger. The company has another 500 million active monthly users on Instagram Stories and another 450 million users on WhatsApp Status. Facebook owns both WhatsApp and Instagram.
This new feature, which is a swipeable hybrid carousel that was first spotted by some reverse engineering specialists. It was discovered that this unreleased feature which is inside of the Android version of the Facebook app and screen recorded the new navigation system. In this latest prototype, when someone taps the Facebook News Feed post’s header or surrounding space, the user can see a full-screen version of that post. From there, the users can swipe left to reveal the next piece of content in this hybrid carousel. The hybrid carouse can include both the traditional News Feed posts, News Feed advertisements, and purposefully vertical Facebook Stories and Stories ads.
Users can tap the Like icon as well the react to button or use the comment option on feed posts while still in this hybrid carousel interface. Facebook has been developing new ways to syndicate the News Feed posts to Stories of the users since 2018. These posts got reformatted to appear like the traditional Stories format rather than retaining their old design elements and white background as we can see here.
If Facebook decides to move forward with offering this hybrid carousel as an optional way to browse through its social network platform, then it would hedge its business against the largest behavior change among its users which it has seen since the move from the desktop platform to the mobile app. Vertically-scrolling through the News Feeds is useful for browsing content that is text-heavy, but the navigation is cumbersome and requires more work which may put off some users. Users have to routinely stop and start scrolling precisely so as to get a whole post in view, and this action takes longer to move between the individual pieces of content.
In contrast, swipeable Stories carousels will offer a more convenient and lean-back navigation method whereby new posts will always appear as fully visible to the user. All the user needs to do in order to advance to the next full-screen piece of content is to do a single tap, which is easier on your finger joints. This allows for rapid-fire fast-forwarding through friends’ posts, which works well with users as it offers more visual, instantly digestible content. While Facebook will cram text-filled News Feed posts which may not be ideal, at least these posts might get more attention from its users. If Facebook combined all this with some unescapable Stories ads like what Snapchat is doing, their platform could lure more TV advertisement dollars to the web platform.
Facebook has been repeatedly warning that it cannot jam in more ads to its News Feed, and thus the users are shifting their viewing time to Facebook Stories where Facebook advertisers are still getting accustomed to the new platform. When Facebook announced on its Q2 2018 earnings call that this revelation could significantly reduce its revenue growth, its share price drastically dropped by 20 percent, which took off a whopping $120 billion from its total valuation. The investors at Wall Street are concerned that the Facebook Stories medium shift could upend the massive revenues of Facebook and hurt its business strategy.