A little while ago, Facebook started grouping posts in your news feed by topic. Any Facebook user probably sees many of these “aggregated tag” stories on their feeds in any given day. When multiple friends (or pages you follow) post about a certain hot topic, let’s say March Madness, Facebook groups those stories into a collapsable story. It will say something like “Jack Jones and 4 other people posted about March Madness.” If you’re a fan of these aggregated tags, it’s because it allows your news feed to be free of the clutter of dozens of people talking about the same topic. If you’re not a fan of the feature, it’s probably because posts tend to get swallowed up inside the grouping.
Here’s what Facebook said back when they rolled out this change:
You may notice some of your News Feed stories are now grouped together by topic. We want to show you the most relevant and interesting information, and this test is designed to show you trends among what your friends are saying.
One of the obvious observations about the aggregated tag stories was that ti could be great for brands. for instance, even if a user didn’t mention tag Starbucks himself in his post about Starbucks, this feature would put his status in a group that does tag Starbucks. Users are then directed to the Starbucks Facebook page if they click the tag.
And that’s where that link has always gone – to a brand, public figure, band, etc.’s Facebook page – not their personal site or another web resource on the topic. Now, it appears that Facebook is testing linking to external sites from those aggregated tags.
First spotted at Maypalo, Facebook used the aggregated tag of Indian Cricket player Sachin Tendulkar to link to an ESPN page on him, not his official Facebook page.
Check it out (click for larger image):
A Facebook spokesperson told All Facebook that ““We’re always testing new features. We have nothing to announce at this time.”
Aggregated tags have always been a way to “advertise” topics on Facebook – as they send traffic to brands’ official pages. But linking out to external sites could make these aggregated tags even more of an advertising factor. Have you seen anything like this? Let us know in the comments.