3 min

Media blames Facebook for the content that media creates

#todo finish editing and excerpting

May 22, 2014 dust-up pitting technologists versus journalists in a broad sense. I'm not implying that all technologists and all journalists think the same way, regarding this issue. But for the opinions that I've read thus far, the technologists are correct and smarter.

Incredibly, some media people blame Facebook for the types of stories that the media publishes, and these media people want Facebook to resolve their publishing problems.

Facebook has existed for 10 years while some newspapers have existed for more than 100 years.

This is stunningly stupid and embarrassing for media people who I respect, and who I thought were smarter than they appear on this issue.

The thinking by these media people is so convoluted that I get a headache trying to process their comments. It will probably be the dumbest story of 2014.

The media have blamed its problems on the Internet, the web, Craigslist, and now Facebook. When will the media blame itself for its problems, and when will the media take responsibility by trying to innovate its way toward success?

Some media orgs have tried and others, such as Vox.com, are trying, which is why the comments from Vox.com are surprisingly moronic. Vox.com has only existed for a few weeks, but with the kind of thinking that they have exhibited on this issue, I don't see how they'll survive, except as a tabloid trash site.

Copy links and my comments from this notes thread:


Ezra Klein

I don't think we're fighting. I think we're talking! And I think it's interesting.

Editorially, I'm going to keep trying to make Vox better at both. I want to be your source for North Korea and for Levi's care. Something I hope I've conveyed in what I've said here is I manifestly disagree that Solange and Jay-Z and Levi's are unimportant. I genuinely don't look down on that kind of thing either as an editor or as a consumer. Culture matters. The mundanities of life matter. I want Vox to be a force there.

But my broad point here is I think as a guy with power at Facebook you need to do a bit of reflection on why you're seeing the stories you're seeing, because I assure you — Vox writes orders of magnitude more about Obamacare than about jeans. We get more traffic from Obamacare than jeans, too. In an age of algorithmic personalization, if you're seeing more jeans than Obamacare — and, in general, more fluff than hard news — I think you need to ask why that is rather than assuming it's representative of what's being published and criticizing publishers for which of their articles your algorithm highlights.


Mike Hudack:

Ezra, we agree that culture matters. I also want to emphasize that I don't work on Feed or Trending Topics, and that I speak for myself and not the company or the folks who work hard to make Feed and Trending Topics better. I know those guys, but I can't speak for them. I understand that there are such things as filter bias, and I think that you're right that all of the players in the ecosystem can get better at this.

But I think my point stands independent of what the ecosystem may or may not do. You have a choice about what kind of a publication you build. To take an extreme example you can decide whether you want to be an Internet-native tabloid or an Internet-native source of serious news and reporting. I don't think that any external force makes that choice for you. And as I've said repeatedly, I went out of my way to give you credit for the really good work you do. I just think you're on the bubble and can go either way, and I hope that you choose to stick to your knitting and do important work.

#media - #moronism - #humor - #blog_jr

By JR - 655 words
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