For better or for worse, this year’s slew of postponed and cancelled events has given people much more free time. If you’re one of Facebook’s nearly 3 billion users, you’ve likely spent more time scrolling through your newsfeed as a result. During that endless scrolling, you may have noticed some changes to the user experience that have been introduced over the last several months.
Updated InterfaceRemember when our biggest worry about Facebook was when we would have to switch over to the dreaded timeline? The most recent Facebook design that we’ve all become familiar with was removed in September, replaced by a plainer interface meant to highlight Facebook’s newer features like Watch and Facebook Gaming. However, the plainness and reorganization of icons and buttons has brought its fair share of criticism. COVID wasn’t the catalyst for Facebook’s overhaul (it was announced in April 2019), but the update still came at a time where users, living in a world that has changed virtually every day this year, may have appreciated some familiarity.
More AdvertisementsFacebook spending increased 19% in the first six months of 2020 and the influx of Facebook usage has caused desktop users to see nearly 25% more ads since the beginning of March according to Ad Age. It may seem odd that more advertising money was being spent during an economic downturn, but these advertisements have been promoting hot ticket items like branded masks, virtual entertainment, and at-home activities more so than typical COVID-less goods and have become a staple of the Facebook experience.
No Political AdvertisementsSince this is a newer change, you may have not yet noticed that Facebook stopped running new political ads starting October 27 and banned them entirely after polls closed to limit the spread of misinformation this election season. The change is not expected to be permanent, but there is no timetable for when they will be reinstated.
What This All MeansIf you only use Facebook for personal reasons, nothing here has likely created any major challenges. It may take some time to adjust to the new interface and the surge of ads might be annoying, but you shouldn’t be affected otherwise. For people like myself who run multiple Facebook pages, create advertisements, and track analytics, this has created some difficulties.