Facebook is building a mini version of Instagram inside of itself just in case you wanted two image-centric algorithmic feeds to scroll through.
Discovered by TechCrunch, the new feed — dubbed ‘Popular Photos’ — began testing back in October. Since then, Facebook concluded the trial, but a spokesperson told TechCrunch that it plans to do updated tests in the future.
Popular Photos works similarly to Facebook’s ‘Related Videos‘ feature. It appears when users open a photo and allows them to keep scrolling through photos. Currently, if you open a photo from the News Feed in the Facebook app, swiping on it will close it. Popular Photos will allow you to scroll through an Instagram-like feed of pictures instead.
Further, Popular Photos only shows a limited amount of text in the captions — users will only see about 65 characters — and generally keeps the interface clean of everything save images. There are also ‘Like’ and ‘Comment’ buttons beneath each picture. The interface appears on a black background that emphasizes the images.
While the initial test didn’t include advertisements, considering its similarity to Related Videos (which shows ads), I’d expect Facebook to monetize Popular Photos similarly.
TechCrunch suggests Popular Photos will be a less exhausting way to browse Facebook. Users won’t have to deal with lengthy status messages, links and other content. Instead, it’ll just be photos.
Facebook hasn’t been shy when it comes to copying features and leveraging Instagram to benefit itself. The company copied things like Stories from Snapchat and brought them to both Instagram and Facebook. Plus, the social network recently added an ‘Open Facebook’ button to Instagram and used it to push Facebook notifications to the other platform.
Additionally, the company’s new Facebook branding has spread to Instagram, as well as WhatsApp, making it clear that both platforms are part of it.
Ultimately, a new way to browse content on Facebook may prove useful to those who still consistently use the platform. I don’t think ripping off Instagram will win back any of the younger crowd, which has mostly abandoned Facebook in favour of apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.
Image credit: TechCrunch