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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Facebook Learns That the News Can't Be Delivered Via Algorithm

Posted by on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Re/Code's Mike Isaac says:

For years, Facebook has sworn by the power of algorithms to serve users a personalized mix of status updates, stories and photos. It’s what makes up the heart of the company’s premier product, the News Feed.

Soon, Facebook will add another approach to delivering the news: Via a new app, humans working for Facebook will start telling you which news stories you should be reading.

The thing that makes Google News so awkward sometimes, and the thing that makes click-obsessed sites like the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed seem so frivolous, is that they forget something essential about news. The important thing about the news is that you're not telling people what they want to hear. You're telling them what they need to hear. Algorithms are desperate to please. News sources can't have that luxury. You need a human being to tell the difference.

Facebook's Flipboard-like Paper project has been a long time coming. I'll be interested to see how they attempt to turn Facebook into a magazine. To succeed, Paper is going to have to be more than a desperate attempt to keep people from clicking away from Facebook to read the entirety of an article; it's got to have personality. Real, human personality.

(Thanks to Slog tipper Greg.)


Comments (3) RSS

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fletc3her 1
The Huffington Post is a great example of what happens to a "news" site when it is continuously optimized to generate clicks. It descends to the lowest common denominator since that is what will always generate more clicks than substantive news.

Every news organization needs to pay some heed to its readership of course but if that's all you pay heed to you quickly become crap. Sadly the proliferation of crap demonstrates that being crap is not necessarily a detriment to profitability. See also, every fucking corporation in the world.
Posted by fletc3her on January 28, 2014 at 3:01 PM · Report this
Most people I know actively avoid posting stuff from within Facebook because of their insistence upon having publication-by-publication systems that pretty much force you to subscribe to read or post anything.

Or you can just go to the publication's website and read shit like normal, copy-pasting the URL to any given page if you want to share it.

They have no idea what they're doing and whatever Paper is is not going to work. The only good idea Facebook has offered is the "chat heads" in its Messenger mobile apps, which is arguably something achieved way earlier in custom Android ROMs.
Posted by The CHZA on January 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM · Report this
very bad homo 3
Can we all just leave Facebook behind, please? It's horrible, and just gets worse.
Posted by very bad homo on January 28, 2014 at 10:42 PM · Report this

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