BBC launches beta News Control Panel on Facebook

BBC News has added a Control Panel (currently in beta) to its Facebook Page, allowing users of the social network to pick and choose what type of content appears in their News Feeds.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

The BBC has launched a new feature that gives Facebook users more control of the news they get from the publication. The company has created a Control Panel (currently in beta) for its Facebook Page, which will allow you to personalise the mix of content you see in your News Feed (like about tracking down Facebook trolls!).

If you want to Like the BBC on Facebook, you'll be presented with a control panel of options that allows you to select your favourite BBC correspondents, programmes, and the latest headlines on the subjects you care most about. To help you find the sections that are most relevant to you, you'll see slightly different options based on your location. Right now, the content posted to your News Feed will be in the form of short headlines and updates, but the news organization is considering experimenting with longer posts to promote feature stories, graphics, and/or video.

The BBC says it is doing this because the media industry is changing. Just a few years ago, most people arrived at the website by typing in the URL (bbc.co.uk/news) in the address bar. Some arrived directly at a story, usually from search, a social network, or a link in an e-mail from a friend. Today, fewer than 50 percent of the 8 million visitors to the BBC News website see the front page every day. The rest arrive directly at a story, video page, or section index.

Based on referral data, the BBC has concluded this change in user habits is in large part down to the growing amount of time many are now spending on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. For example, the number of clicks to BBC News stories from Facebook is now over 14 times higher than it was at the end of 2008. Every day, almost 250,000 individual users start their BBC News website journey via a link on Facebook.

Since this is a beta, the BBC is asking for your feedback. You can send it their way here: BBC News Control Panel on Facebook.

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