Facebook Inc. is testing a feature for its mobile application that lets people search through old posts from friends by keyword, a move that makes it easier to resurface content that may otherwise be buried.
The tool, which is only available to some members of the world’s biggest social network, lets mobile users see any content that was previously available to them through friends or pages they followed. Facebook said in an e-mailed statement that the feature is “an improvement to search on mobile.”
The Menlo Park, California-based company has in the past dealt with privacy questions for highlighting content that users anticipated would be harder to find. In response, Facebook is giving users more control over their settings and this year added options for members to find out why they are served certain ads, among other updates.
Still, Facebook continues to grapple with consumer doubts about how it treats data, especially with its mobile products. Facebook’s Messenger application gets a one-star rating in Apple Inc.’s app store, partly because of customer skepticism about how the social network will enact its terms of service.
Facebook is running the test of the new feature on mobile devices as it continues to roll out its Graph Search product to smartphones and tablet computers. Graph Search lets users find friends’ likes and connections, with queries such as, “my friends who like Japanese food.”
On harder-to-navigate mobile devices, the tool may help people get more out of the application. For example, they can type in keywords like “graduation party Christina Jones” to quickly find posts from that friend about the party.