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Facebook sends invite promising ‘new look for the News Feed’

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Facebook appears to be planning another redesign, sending out press invites to come see a “new look for the News Feed” Thursday at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

The company didn’t give further details about what changes may be coming to the landing page for Facebook users that shows updates from friends and other accounts users follow. But speculation started flying soon after the invite hit the inboxes.

TechCrunch noted that Facebook was thought to be planning a redesign of its mobile news feed, which was more focused on photos than text.

The site’s Josh Constine, who got an (unauthorized) peek at the design on a Facebook employee’s phone, said the layout being tested looked a lot like Microsoft’s Metro interface, which displays text laid over big, featured pictures. ReadWrite also reported Thursday that the company appeared to be testing a new layout in New Zealand that reorganizes where users’ basic information, friends list and other more static information is displayed.

Facebook’s last redesign — or at least its last redesigned feature — was just last month, when the company overhauled the social network’s search function, introducing bigger icons and more ways to view data on the site. The company overhauled its profile pages in 2011, centralizing and streamlining information on the site into a scrapbook-like timeline of users’ lives.

The company introduced the news feed in 2006 and redesigned it in 2011 to feature bigger photos and “important stories” determined by a company algorithm that predicted what posts users were mostly likely to read. Facebook later restored the option to organize the news feed by its most recent stories.

Facebook almost always gets some blowback from detractors when it makes site changes — indignation that tends to die down after a couple of weeks. It should be interesting to see how users react to a new look for such a central part of Facebook.

(Washington Post Co. chairman and chief executive Don Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

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