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Facebook launches its latest Explore Feed feature

Facebook has finally launched its latest feature called “Explore Feed”, which was designed to ease access to desktop users and help them navigate through the network.

Previously available on mobile devices in the main navigation, Facebook’s new Explore Feed is now appearing for users on the desktop, as well. Facebook has confirmed this is the beginning of the official rollout of the Explore feed.

On the desktop, the feed is found in the left-side sidebar, within the “Explore” section – where users will find links to Facebook features like Events, Groups, Pages, Moments, Saved items, and more.

The expansion to desktop was first spotted via Matt Navarra, who shared a screenshot of the Explore Feed on Twitter.

On mobile platforms, the Explore feed is in the main navigation under the “More” menu.

The idea behind the Explore Feed is to help Facebook users discover more content across the social network, beyond posts from friends and Pages they already follow. The feed surfaces recommended content it thinks users might find interesting, including posts, articles, photos and videos from sources they haven’t followed yet – like Facebook Pages and other posts from publishers or news organizations.

The selection isn’t just random content, though. Items in the Explore Feed are similar to those they have already liked, or those popular among their network of friends, for example.

The overall purpose, of course, is to increase users’ time-on-site. This will allow Facebook to serve more ads in between the content, in videos and elsewhere. Effectively, it’s a second-tier News Feed that Facebook could monetize.

At this time, however, the feed doesn’t appear to include advertising. However, that will probably change sometime in the future, as the new feature becomes more popular and widespread.

The Explore Feed itself has been in testing for some time. Earlier this year, the feed was designated by a rocket ship icon, which may have confused users who didn’t understand its purpose. But other tests had labeled the feed “Explore,” which made more sense. That name has since stuck, as that’s how the feed is now labeled on desktop as well.

When asked in the past about the feed’s expansion, Facebook had continued to say that the Explore Feed is just a test. But all of that changed today. When asked for a comment, a Facebook rep confirmed the Explore Feed is now being rolled out.

“We are beginning to roll out a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, automatically customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them,” the Facebook spokesperson said. “We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore relevant content from Pages they haven’t connected with yet.”

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