As usual, anytime Facebook makes an update to their design, people swarm in droves to complain about it and rally against it. Since Facebook usually ignores that rally cry, I figure the new design is here to stay, and as such, I wanted to answer what I have found to be the most common question about the new design due to Facebook’s fairly poor naming convention.

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What’s the difference between the “News Feed” and the “Live Feed”?

I am not surprised so many people are confused by this nomenclature for the two feeds since the feeds are storing the same kinds of information – news, status updates, links being shared, photos, and so forth. The difference, though, is that the Live Feed is only showing you a stream of information that was just shared, hence live, whereas the News Feed has replaced the Highlights section, showing you only those stories that Facebook thinks you might find Newsworthy*. This means the Live Feed is really by-the-minute, whereas the News Feed could be anything over the past week.

*For those who are extra-curious, the News Feed determines “newsworthy” stories to put into your feed based on an internal Facebook algorithm. For those particularly astute with the web, you, like me, may consider this a big change as it is beginning to put an algorithm for popularity more front-and-center for users. This type of algorithm is just what birthed search engine optimization specialists for Google.