Facebook is making a bit of a change to the News Feed, and is aiming that change at the developing world.
Most of the new users that are signing up with the social network seem to be coming from there, and it seems that those people are connecting through the slower 2G mobile connections. Due to this piece of information, Facebook has decided to make some technical accommodations for users in parts of the world were mobile connections aren’t so fast. Facebook is using their own open-source “Network Connection Class” to sniff out how fast a person’s connection is and serve content to them accordingly.
If somebody is on the 2G network, they will end up seeing less bandwidth-hogging videos and more text and photo updates. Also, the user will be able to read the story that they are looking at while the rest of the News Feed is loading in the background. Facebook is also displaying photos in progressive JPEG format, so a lower-quality version of the image will be displayed, allowing for faster load time.
The net result, Facebook says, is that people are going to always have stories to scroll through and check out. This is going to be true even if the connection is really bad, so bad that new stories can’t be loaded. If that’s the case, where there is no connection at all, the News Feed will display stories from previous visits until the user can get connected again.
Facebook wrote in a blog post about the update:
“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. 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.”
To find out more about the update, check out the Facebook News Feed FYI post.