Here’s Why Facebook Got a Facelift

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Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) News Feed just got a facelift.

To users across the world, Facebook’s social networking symbol might be distilled into the “Like” button, which until last month was emblazoned with an iconic thumbs-up. It is the tool — like the “Share” button — that links data back to Facebook. When the Like button is clicked on other websites, that click gives intelligence to Facebook the company, which generates its profits through targeted advertising. Facebook the social network aggregates information its users share; status updates they post; and, pictures, videos, and content they like, stringing together all the stories on its News Feed. That is the tool that keeps Facebook users engaged in the site, building an online presence that gives Facebook the company intelligence on its likes.

Facebook’s News Feed has had multiple iterations. The social network did not launch with the News Feed, but years later, it seems unthinkable that the site’s front page was not always inhabited by that update compilation. News Feed joined Facebook in September 2006, and in the words of company historian David Kirkpatrick, it was meant to answer the question: “How are the people doing that I care about?”

He described News Feed as one of the most important and influential innovations in the history of the Internet because it changed how people relate to personal data. Now, all online actions become a story for friends or even the world to consume. News Feed is the feature that helped Facebook’s popularity soar, and it made it different from every other social network. It changed the media, it changed advertising, it changed politics, and it also changed how society communicates by forcing intimacy.

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