Introducing the BBC News Control Panel on Facebook
BBC News Control Panel beta
I'd like to tell you about a new feature we are introducing designed to give you greater choice in how you keep in touch with BBC News if you use Facebook.
We've created a Control Panel for the BBC News Facebook page which will allow you to personalise the mix of content you see in your Facebook news feed.
As Product Manager for the BBC News website, I've observed big changes over the years to the way in which people are arriving at the site.
Just a few years ago, most people arrived at our site by typing in the website address (bbc.co.uk/news). Those few who arrived directly at story level came almost exclusively from search or, from that first social network, a link in an email from a friend.
Today the picture is very different. Fewer than 50% of the 8 million+ visitors to the News website every day see our front page and the rest arrive directly at a story, video page or section index.
We can see from our referral information that this change in user habits is in large part down to the growing amount of time many are now spending using social network services such as Facebook or Twitter. The number of clicks to BBC News stories from Facebook, for example, is now over 14 times higher than it was at the end of 2008. Almost a quarter of a million individual users start their BBC News website journey via a link on Facebook every day.
With this in mind, we've given our BBC News Facebook page an upgrade.
Now, if you choose to 'like' the BBC News Facebook page you'll be presented with a control panel of options (above). You can also get to it at any time using the link on the left hand side of our Facebook page.
This allows you to select for your Facebook News feed, all in one place, your favourite BBC correspondents and 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.
At the moment we are mostly providing short headline updates, which will pop into your news feed in the style of:
BBC News story on Facebook
We may also add longer posts to the mix, in the style of those on our main Facebook page, for example where we want to tell you about interesting new feature stories, graphics or video. When you click a link you'll be taken to see the full details on the BBC News website.
We're labelling this as 'beta' for now, which is a period during which we can test how this new feature is being used and ask for your feedback on what you like about it and how you think we could make improvements. You can email us on our feedback page to let us know what you think. We'll be reading all of your feedback and using it when we make decisions on future stages of development.
Gareth Owen is the Product Manager of the BBC News Website