People are coming online at a staggering rate in emerging markets and, in most cases, are doing so on mobile via 2G connections. In order to make sure another billion people can connect using Facebook, the social networking giant announced some news feed updates.
News Feed functions mainly basis internet speed, making content dissemination a task. The updates intend to make the process seamless.
Taking connection speed into account
Many factors are taken into account in News Feed to make sure users see the most relevant stories – even the type of device or the speed of mobile network or WiFi connection is taken into consideration.
For example, if you are on a slower internet connection that won’t load videos, News Feed will show you fewer videos and more status updates and links.
The recent updates will retrieve more stories and photos while users are reading News Feed on slower connections to make sure stories are always available as you keep scrolling.
So if you are reading a post from your friend about their weekend, but doing so on a slower connection, we will load more stories while you’re reading so they are ready for you when you’re done reading that post.
Prioritizing which stories to load
When in poor internet connection, the News Feed will first download the story you’re currently looking at, rather than downloading a series of News Feed stories.
For example, if you are looking at a photo your friend posted or a photo from a Page you’ve liked, that isn’t fully downloaded, we prioritize that photo over loading a story below it that you aren’t currently looking at, so you can see the most important photos you’re viewing as quickly as possible.
To accommodate the same, Facebook recently moved to a Progressive JPEG photo format which allows them to start showing lower-quality versions of photos while they’re still downloading, so you can see some of the photo instead of nothing.
This lowers the amount of data required to send photos to be loaded, and speeds up the wait time for photos.
Showing you stories when on particularly poor connections
Now when you leave News Feed and then come back again on a bad connection, Facebook will display previously downloaded stories. You can scroll down and see stories from your previous visit to News Feed until you are able to connect again to a mobile network.
For example, if you were to open News Feed on an airplane you’d still be able to read stories you scrolled past previously, when you did have a connection, instead of just waiting for anything to load.
Presently, Facebook loads stories from previous visits to News Feed, it doesn’t re-retrieve stories that you have already seen, so more data isn’t wasted. 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 — Facebook will make updates when you see the story again.