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Here’s the meaning behind Facebook’s latest icon

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Do you remember the outcry that used to erupt every time Facebook made any changes to, well anything? There would be howling, people openly weeping in the streets and mass demonstrations. And then after about two days, everyone would shrug, go ‘actually this might be better than it was before’ and then carry on with their daily lives. People are strange.

Facebook has never backed down from shaking things up and trying new features on a regular basis, and the latest is one heralded by a rocket icon, which some users are seeing on their iOS and Android apps (on the bottom on iOS and at the top on Android). Tapping the icon brings up a second news feed which is seemingly similar to Snapchat’s Discover tab and Instagram’s Explore option, in that it shows content from pages that the user doesn’t currently like.

While this is, perhaps, a response to the increasing worries over the ‘social media bubble’ – that is, people only being exposed to things which agree with their existing worldview, and never being challenged on it – it’s highly likely that Facebook isn’t exactly lobbing anything suspicious in there, but rather showing stuff that a user is likely to enjoy, based on their existing preferences. So if you like cats, you’re more than likely to find a ton of articles on the fierce felines.

The feature is actually not new – another recent trail saw a second news feed being tested with a small square icon, on Android only, with this one labelled ‘Explore’, identically to the Instagram one.

It’s unclear whether this is the beginning of a worldwide roll-out, or simply more testing, but keep your app up to date and you’ll soon find out.

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