Facebook Adds Read-It-Later Feature

Facebook has added a “Save” feature that acts like a bookmark tool for linked content on your news feed. Unlike tools such as Instapaper, it doesn’t allow offline viewing.

The feature will be available on both the desktop website version of the site and on the official Android/iOS apps. On posts which contain a link, you’ll get a new option in the drop down menu which already houses options such as reporting a post as spam. (Just in case you’re not familiar with that, it’s accessible by selecting the downwards gray arrow in the top right of a post.)

Once you have saved links, you can access them in the left hand toolbar of the website (the last option before the “Pages” section). If you’re on the mobile app, it’s under the “More” tab.

The feature seems to work relatively smoothly. When you access the list of saved items, it’s broken down into categories. However, these are arranged by Facebook logic, so a link to a video-on-demand page on a TV network website is classed as “TV Shows” while YouTube links are simply thrown into a generic “Links” category along with links to website articles.

One possibly irritating downside is that Facebook says it will occasionally “show you reminders of your saved items in News Feed. For example, we might show you links to articles you saved.” This seems counterintuitive as it defeats the whole object of filing something away to refer to at a time of your choosing.

The idea of the feature is to make it easier to keep track of links that look interesting but which you don’t want to look at right now, for example because you haven’t got time to do anything beyond scroll through your News Feed, or because you’re on the move and don’t want to watch a video on your phone.

Of course, you could just open the link in a browser and bookmark it, but this option could be simpler, particularly if you are saving content on the mobile app to watch on your computer and you don’t use browsers with a syncing option.

Facebook insists that “Only you can see the items you save unless you choose to share them with friends.” It’s not said anything about whether your choice of which links to save will affect either the “Top Stories” ranking algorithm or what advertising you see.

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