Facebook Is Giving Aussies A New Mini Social Network As An Experiment

Remember how Facebook experimented on people and that sucked? This is kind of the opposite of that: Facebook is releasing a new feature just for us that gives Aussies access to a brand new sidebar and a new kind of secret status update. Suck it, America.

Facebook has redesigned the Sidebar on its official app for Android and iOS, and the new version practically tacks a whole other social network onto your phone.

Previously, Sidebar allowed you to see who was online to chat, but given that the messaging component of Facebook on mobile has been spun out into its own app, that kind of doesn’t make sense anymore.

So Facebook went back to the drawing board, and figured out a new way to make Sidebar interesting. What it came up with was a new way for users to share what they’re doing.

It’s designed to complement the status update by allowing you to share a mini-update on what you’re doing, what you’re feeling and where it’s at. Think of it like a new home for the doing or feeling status updates you see on your News Feed all the time.

Swipe to the right on your Facebook mobile app on iOS or Android this week and you’ll find yourself in a new pane full of your best mates. That’s where they’ll be posting stuff like this:

It gives you a way to add feelings and actions in a bespoke place.

The Sidebar status updates will be segregated from the rest of your Facebook, too. That’s what makes this so interesting.

Sidebar status updates can only be accessed and viewed in their special place on the app for Android and iOS, and they won’t be shared out to News Feed or visible on your Timeline after they have expired.

Facebook doesn’t really know what it will do with the new functionality right now: it’s launching the redeveloped Sidebar in Australia and Taiwan to figure out how users react to having a new mini-status update to call their own.

The folks at Facebook who built it told us in an interview this week that the newly redesigned Sidebar experience is designed to supplement the main status updates we post everyday. Basically they want to give users a way to post little things throughout the day about what they’re doing and what they’re feeling so people can keep in touch.

According to Facebook, catching up on smaller events can make you feel closer to your friends in a big way.

The official Facebook apps for iOS and Android will be updated some time this week, bringing the new functionality with it. Keep an eye out!

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