Facebook Couldn’t Handle News. Maybe It Never Wanted To.

While Facebook is notorious for its endless piddling product tweaks, this one seems a substantive shift in strategic vision. It’s an unprecedented acknowledgment that Facebook’s core feature — News Feed — has not worked out at all the way it was intended. It was abused by peddlers of misinformation. It was used by foreign governments to attempt to interfere in elections. It made people feel bad.

via Facebook Couldn’t Handle News. Maybe It Never Wanted To.

Good article summarising of all the problems Facebook caused itself and its users with the news feed, that they are now trying to walk back.


Facebook’s News Feed experiment panics publishers

The new feature Facebook is trying out is called Explore. It offers all sorts of stories it thinks might interest you, a separate news feed encouraging you to look further afield than just at what your friends are sharing.
Meanwhile, for most people, the standard News Feed remains the usual mixture of baby photos and posts from companies or media organisations whose pages you have liked.
Sounds fine, doesn’t it? Except that in six countries – Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia – the experiment went further.
For users there, the main News Feed was cleared of everything but the usual stuff from your friends and sponsored posts – in other words, if you wanted to have your material seen in the place most users spend their time you had to pay for the privilege.

Its quite amusing watching Fb patch one problem and cause another, trying to fix the messes of their own doing. Too late for me, I quit. Too much noise to signal and value.

If this trial rolls out, it seems like a win for the people still using Fb and Fb itself ($$$), the losers are the groups and businesses who thought the free traffic would last forever.

via Facebook’s News Feed experiment panics publishers – BBC News

Facebook to feature slower websites less?

Facebook wields a huge amount of power over what sites get served to you in your News Feed, and now the company is adding another layer to that by taking site speed into account. According to Facebook, “Factors such as the person’s current network connection and the general speed of the corresponding webpage will be considered. If signals indicate the webpage will load quickly, the link to that webpage might appear higher in your feed.”

Amusing if Facebook is the trigger to make site owners sit finally up and and take notice of their websites performance, despite Instant Articles, Google AMP and FBs attempt to invent their own internet with internet.org. It would be highly ironic if this leads people to browse outside FBs walled garden once again.

via Facebook will show fewer links to slow-loading websites – The Verge

And now, a brief definition of the web

Speaking of questions, I’ll re-pose one from earlier: who cares? Well, I do. The openness of the web allowed small companies to become big ones without seeking permission from the biggest ones. Preserving the web, or more specifically the open principles behind it, means protecting one of the few paths for innovation left in the modern tech world that doesn’t have a giant company acting as a gatekeeper. And there’s reason not to trust those giant companies: there’s much less incentive to encourage openness when you have a massive empire to defend.

Not everything has to be as open as the web, but some things should be.

via And now, a brief definition of the web – The Verge

Instant Recall

There was optimism, too. Facebook’s daily aggregation of eyeballs is the largest in human history, and publishers were eager for the chance to capture more of them. It seemed possible that a superior reading experience could benefit readers, publishers, and Facebook at the same time. “In the long run,” wrote Will Oremus at Slate, some might find they’re better off outsourcing their distribution and ad sales to well-funded tech giants and refocusing on what they do best: reporting the news.”

But two years after it launched, a platform that aspired to build a more stable path forward for journalism appears to be declining in relevance. At the same time that Instant Articles were being designed, Facebook was beginning work on the projects that would ultimately undermine it. Starting in 2015, the company’s algorithms began favoring video over other content types, diminishing the reach of Instant Articles in the feed.

via Instant recall – The Verge

Facebook and Google make lies as pretty as truth

Really interesting consequence of the instant pages bringing good typography and design equally to all. When everything looks good, its impossible to use your gut check feeling if a site is genuine or a viral news click farm. 

A difficult problem for a human or algorithm to solve. How would someone with good writing but a lack of design sense make it past such as system? Who decides what looks right, what’s real?

Facebook and Google make lies as pretty as truth