Why didn’t Facebook users like “read later”?

Julie Zhuo, Facebook Director of Product Design on News Feed and core mobile experiences, mentions this in passing:

We test many different interesting ideas that come out of hackathons or team brainstorms, like the ability to save posts for later, useful if you’re in a hurry and see a post that you want to respond to or an article you’d like to read later. However, we only wanted to launch the feature if enough users used it and found it valuable. If not, then it wasn’t worth taking up space as yet another action link on every story. A test helped us verify that it was, in fact, something only a small group of people used, so we decided ultimately to not launch it.

Why didn’t Facebook users use “read later”? Two possibilities:

  1. Most Facebook content isn’t important enough to come back to.
  2. Because “read later” is only useful for longer content that you don’t have time to read now, whereas Facebook’s users contribute mainly short form content.

Facebook’s preponderance of short form content also explains why it has transitioned so comfortably to mobile, where short form content rules.

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