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Facebook Quietly Built an Instagram-Like Popular Photos Section in Its App

A photos-only mode for Facebook’s mobile application is under testing and it would let users see algorithmically suggested photos in a feed similar to its photo sharing platform Instagram.

The feature, named “Popular Photos”, affixes an endless scroll of algorithmically selected images from friends beneath the full-screen view of a photo opened from the News Feed. The result is an experience that is similar to Instagram feed, TechCrunch has recently reported.

A mode was first spotted in October and the trial has since concluded, Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch. The new feature is being worked on with future tests in mind. The company refused to disclose more details or its motives for Popular Photos. 

“Given Facebook already has Stories, messaging, profiles, and its IGTV-esque Watch video hub, it’s only the Explore tab and a dedicated media feed that are missing from it being a full clone of Instagram… Here’s how Popular Photos works. When users discover a photo in the News Feed or a profile, they can tap on it to see it full-screen on a black theatre-view background. Typically, if users swipe or scroll on that photo, they’re just booted back out to where they came from. But with the Popular Photos feature, Facebook splays out more images for users to scroll through after the original,” the report says.

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