15 min

Facebook as a so-called media org

it's their site. they, facebook, can do whatever it wants with their site. don't like it, move on and maybe start your own service.

may 9, 2016 - weird. i thought this story made the rounds two weeks ago.

this story was posted last week or so, and it's probably the one that I was thinking about.

yeah, http://jothut.com/cgi-bin/junco.pl/blogpost/70163/03May2016/Facebook-and-its-media-operation

I had to log into Facebook to see the trending stories section. I never knew that it existed. It's located in the upper right corner of the screen when viewing the site in a web browser on a desktop/laptop computer. I never noticed the trending stories section before. I probably assumed it was garbage ads or sponsored content or notification crap.

new story but it seems similar to ... whatever


discussion began on may 8 about the mid-april story

top HN comment about the journalists' whining:

Having worked with journalists, these sound like typical entitlement complaints. Frankly, a lot of writers have an attitude that they're "artists" who shouldn't be rushed and don't have performance requirements.

Frankly, it does not sound very hard at all. They have to write 20 posts a day, but each post is only a headline and a brief summary. A focused writer can finish that in 15 minutes.

Another HN comment:

When the employees of Facebook collectively ask "What responsibility do we have to stop the election of Donald Trump" at an internal meeting, it gives me Orwellian chills. Today, it's not governments we need to fear the most, it's data hungry, fascist internet corporations.

Two thoughts:

  1. Facebook employees and technologists in general have a self-inflated importance, regarding their influence on culture.
  2. Or the masses are easily manipulated, which means Facebook users are primarily dolts.

Either way, I'm glad that I don't "use" Facebook. I have no problem with the business existing. Zillions of us probably wish that we had invented it. But Facebook has no purpose in my life. I subscribe to the theory that all humans are unique, and that it's possible for some humans not to have an interest in the social aspects of Facebook.

But this story applies to Trending Topics and not the main news feed. I didn't know that this trending section existed until this story came out last week. I wonder how often Facebook users notice or access the trending topics area.

HN comment:

The Facebook echo chamber is a true effect, and echo chambers cause a feedback loop of encouraging radicalization.

That would be the hypersensitive, deranged, Facebook mob which does not believe in freedom of expression.


Aside from fueling right-wing persecution, this is a key reminder of dangers of Silicon Valley controlling content

"Facebook’s trending stories leak shows that it isn’t too different from average news orgs: flawed, human, a little biased"


Facebook curators also said they were discouraged from posting trending stories about Facebook itself, often having to go through several layers of management to get posts approved. Facebook, in that respect, isn’t too different from some major news organizations. Bloomberg News, for example, has a policy against covering parent company Bloomberg LP and its founder.

Not too different "average" news orgs, eh. Maybe that's another reason why the public gives the media a 6-percent approval rating.


They're [Facebook] trying to exercise good editorial judgment, about information sources and public interest. Good for them.

Yes, Facebook can do whatever it wants, but I'm guessing that Golis would have a different viewpoint if Facebook suppressed trending news from liberal media orgs.

It's Facebook. It's another form of entertainment. Whenever my wife shares a "news" story with me that she "found" on Facebook, I'm skeptical. On a few occasions, I did some checking, and I easily found info that refuted the claim or "news" found on Facebook, or I found information that placed the "news" story in more intelligent context.

An April 2016 "news" story "found" on Facebook said that we should boycott Burt's Bees products because the founder sold the company to Clorox. The Facebook "news" post made the story sound like the sale occurred in April 2016. Nope. Clorox bought Burt's Bees in 2007 for $925 million.

I will continue to buy and use Burt's Bees beeswax lip balm as I have done for several years now. I don't remember if I started using Burt's Bees before or after 2007. I don't care. I like the product. I use it year-round.


In late 2007, Clorox purchased Burt's Bees for $925 Million USD.

Co-founder Shavitz died in July 2015 at the age of 80, and was buried in Bangor, Maine.

This seems like more whining by the media industry.

It's not Facebook's fault that it created a website that became a business that became a publicly-traded company that many people enjoy using. And Facebook accomplished this in only 12 years. Don't blame Facebook.

One response by media orgs is to create single web article pages that continue to grow in horrendous size each year, which annoys users. The media creates more reasons for users to want to stay on Facebook.




TechCrunch: Facebook responds to claims of biased Trends, says it has neutrality guidelines
Philip Bump / Washington Post: Ex-Facebook staffers say social network buried conservative news, raising new questions about its political influence
Ema O'Connor / BuzzFeed: Facebook Says It's Taking News Bias Allegations “Very Seriously”
Ksmokeobserver / The New York Observer: Facebook Supression Story is Trending on Facebook
Damon Beres / The Huffington Post: The Facebook News Scandal Explained
Glenn Greenwald / @ggreenwald: Aside from fueling right-wing persecution, this is a key reminder of dangers of Silicon Valley controlling content http://gizmodo.com/...
Zeynep Tufekci / @zeynep: Facebook curators were instructed not to let pieces critical of Facebook trend on Facebook? http://gizmodo.com/... http://twitter.com/...
Ben Gilbert / Business Insider: There's a major issue at the heart of how Facebook shows you news
David McCabe / The Hill: Facebook rejects political bias charges
Guardian: Facebook accused of censoring conservatives, report says
Victor Luckerson / TIME: It's Time Facebook Came Clean About How It Picks What You Read
Farhad Manjoo / @fmanjoo: This “anecdotal” is strange, @JoshConstine. What other kind of bias claim could you get? http://techcrunch.com/... http://twitter.com/...
Josh Constine / @joshconstine: Facebook's statement does not refute that suppression of conservative trends happened, only that it's against policy http://techcrunch.com/...
Jonah Bennett / The Daily Caller: Facebook Responds To Allegations Of Conservative Censorship
John Johnson / Newser: Facebook Curator: We Buried Conservative News
Cynthia Littleton / Variety: Facebook Cites ‘Rigorous Guidelines’ Amid Allegations of Political Bias in Trending Topics
Mathew Ingram / Fortune: Facebook Must Own Up to Being An Increasingly Powerful Media Outlet
Chris Mills / BGR: Facebook says it takes allegations of news manipulation ‘very seriously’
Maddy Myers / The Mary Sue: Former Facebook Employee Claims “Trending Topics” Get Controlled By “News Curators,” Not Algorithms
Scripting News: Journalism is journalism, even if it's Facebook doing it
Jessica Guynn / USA Today: Facebook denies censoring conservative news
Lydia Polgreen / @lpolgreen: To paraphrase @joshuatopolsky, video will not save your digital media company. http://gawker.com/...
Cameron Mills / @cameronmillz: I keep thinking Twitter and Facebook suppressing conservative thoughts & ideas is just paranoia. But then... http://gizmodo.com/...
@gizmodo: Update: We're trending on Facebook http://gizmodo.com/... http://twitter.com/...
Kalev Leetaru / Forbes: Is Facebook Censoring Conservative News? How Social Media Controls What We See
Alison Griswold / Quartz: Don't trust Facebook to give it to you straight on politics
Howard Kurtz / Fox News: Former Facebook staffers say conservative news is deliberately suppressed
Laura Hazard Owen / @laurahazardowen: This seems relevant to all we have been discussinghttps://twitter.com/ ShortFormErnie/status/72976513315360358 4 ...
Maya Kosoff / Vanity Fair: Facebook Employees Say Conservative News Was “Routinely Suppressed”
Anthony L. Fisher / Hit & Run: Does Facebook Suppress Conservative News Outlets and Topics?
Kristin Salaky / Talking Points Memo: Report: Facebook's ‘Trending’ News Curators Suppressed Conservative News
Troy Wolverton / @troywolv: @sarahcuda This is what Facebook says about how it determines “trending” stories: https://www.facebook.com/...
@niemanlab: RedState on Facebook: “We aren't CNN, and we don't really expect to be treated like CNN”: http://www.redstate.com/...
Nathan Giannini / AOL: Facebook snubbed right-wing stories for trending news feed, former workers claim
Sarah Lacy / @sarahcuda: FB always changes those rules. always. it's never stated an obligation like a news outlethttps://twitter.com/troywolv/ status/729757023907151873 ...
Tngal / RedState: Water Cooler 5/9/16 - OPEN THREAD - RedState trending, Poor retirees, Naked students forget needy
Nate Swanner / The Next Web: Facebook just called Facebook out — on Facebook
Dave Rubin / @rubinreport: Doesn't matter if you're liberal or conservative, you must be against this. One day they'll come for your ideas: http://gizmodo.com/...
Hadas Gold / @hadas_gold: @Hadas_Gold @fmanjoo ah under ‘politics’ it is
Talya Minsberg / @tminsberg: Facebook trending... on Facebook trendingpic.twitter.com/ix6oLgvw6y
Maura Johnston / @maura: “I... understand not only that live video isn't a silver bullet, but that there is no silver bullet.” http://gawker.com/...
Calvin / @aurosan: The Facebook trending module is always showing me news that happened 24-48 hours ago. It's always so behind.
Kevin Draper / @kevinmdraper: Facebook Live isn't a silver bullet for media organizations: http://gawker.com/...
Brian Feldman / New York Magazine: What It Really Means That Facebook ‘Suppressed’ Conservative News
Dan Kennedy / Media Nation: Facebook to conservatives: Drop dead
Rob Beschizza / Boing Boing: Former Facebook staff say they routinely manipulated trending news topics
Brian Flood / The Wrap: Former Facebook Workers: Company Censored Conservative Stories From Trending News Feed
Byron York / @byronyork: RT @douthatnyt: Politics is downstream from culture, which is downstream from Mark Zuckerberg: http://gizmodo.com/...
Mike Cernovich / @cernovich: Of course they did. http://gizmodo.com/...
Brian Sikma / The Resurgent: Facebook Suppressed News About Conservatives
Alec MacGillis / @alecmacgillis: Wait, so maybe it's not such a great idea to have all our news consumption filtered through a single huge platform? http://gizmodo.com/...
Ex-Gop / @dabearsk: Like we didn't know. SMH. @ChuckNellis @hopingforachang @mychloegirl6124 @JJGSO http://twitter.com/...
Rasmus Kleis Nielsen / @rasmus_kleis: Political bias an issue—but interesting phrasing: human editing “artificial”, so I suppose algorithm is “natural”? http://twitter.com/...
Jordan Kay / @_jordan: So much for gotta hear both sides http://gizmodo.com/...
Phil Kerpen / @kerpen: Facebook “trending” artificially suppressed IRS scandal and Ted Cruz, artificially boosted Black Lives Matter. http://gizmodo.com/...
Ryan Chittum / @ryanchittum: yep. as it should behttps://twitter.com/jason_pontin/ status/729692997135241217 ...
Jason Pontin / @jason_pontin: If confirmed, this is going to be ugly: http://gizmodo.com/...
Michael B Dougherty / @michaelbd: If you're a mainstream outlet. Conservative reporting and news is just less valuable. You should purge it. http://gizmodo.com/...
Oliver Darcy / @oliverdarcy: “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news.” http://gizmodo.com/... http://twitter.com/...
Alex Griswold / Mediaite: Former Facebook Employees Say They Actively Suppressed Conservative News
Bonnie Eisenman / @brindelle: I was telling someone at @FacetsCon about this: pretty interesting read. http://gizmodo.com/...
Julia Carrie Wong / @juliacarriew: which is to say, this is good reporting, but the attitude that this is shocking feels misplaced http://gizmodo.com/...
The Rude Pundit / @rudepundit: So, when it comes to Facebook, conservatives think it's wrong that a private company is deciding who it serves: http://gizmodo.com/...
Chris O'Shea / FishbowlNY: Facebook Workers Were Told to Suppress Conservative News Stories
Adrian Chen / @adrianchen: I'm greatly enjoying Gizmodo's investigations into Facebook's ‘trending’ news feature http://gizmodo.com/...
Sam Stein / @samsteinhp: Troubling story for Facebook here http://gizmodo.com/...
Sean Davis / @seanmdav: Facebook deliberately blacklisted trending topics such as Lois Lerner/IRS, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, and Scott Walker. http://gizmodo.com/...
Spencer Ackerman / @attackerman: http://gizmodo.com/... You don't have to be a conservative to find this chilling & gross, as Facebook increasingly rules the news business.
Becca Stanek / The Week: Facebook reportedly suppresses conservative news coverage
McKay Coppins / @mckaycoppins: Sources: Facebook news curators routinely prevented conservative stories from appearing in the “trending” section http://gizmodo.com/...
Tim Mak / @timkmak: WOAH — former Facebook workers say that they routinely suppressed conservative news from trending http://gizmodo.com/...
Derek Thompson / @dkthomp: Gizmodo expose shows it's impossible for a platform with humans to be neutral on the question of What News Mattershttp://gizmodo.com/former- facebook-workers-we-routinely- suppressed-conser-1775461006 ...
Timothy Burke / @bubbaprog: Facebook suppressed conservative news from appearing in its trends: http://gizmodo.com/...
Jason Abbruzzese / @jasonabbruzzese: Just about everyone in media or tech or actively breathing should read this from @arctictony — http://www.recode.net/...
Peter Kafka / @pkafka: “Digital media cos do 5 things: create, host, curate, distribute and monetize content. Facebook now does 4 of them.” http://www.recode.net/...
Andrew Golis / @agolis: Today in Facebook Runs The Media And Doesn't Care About It, shot: http://www.recode.net/... chaser: http://gizmodo.com/...
Ben Smith / @buzzfeedben: In case you thought platforms didn't have politics, or didn't want to use their power http://gizmodo.com/...
Seth Mandel / @sethamandel: IRS suppressed conservative political speech and then Facebook suppressed news about the IRS suppression: http://twitter.com/...
Peter Kafka / Re/code: Robots don't run Facebook's trending stories, yet
Felix Salmon / @felixsalmon: Love it when Vox Media subtweets Vice and BuzzFeed. And maybe itself! http://www.recode.net/... http://twitter.com/...


post from last year that bubbled up with the current info above:





Journalism is journalism, even if it's Facebook doing it



"Facebook's News Feed reflects what we already like, with far more influence than curators of Trending Topics"





still top story at mediagazer as of 1:00 p.m. on tue, may 10, 2016




The Facebook trending news box is fundamentally unimportant and uninteresting.

Yeah. I didn't know that it existed until last week's gizmodo story. But I'm not a real user of Facebook, since I only log into the site a couple times a week, using my desktop/laptop WEB browswer. No mobile Facebook app for me on my phone.

More from the Verge article:

The only part of Facebook that matters is the News Feed inside the mobile app, and the trending news box is not part of the mobile News Feed -- it's buried deep inside the search menu. It might as well not exist.

This month Facebook is prioritizing live video, so the media started making live videos. When media people want to complain, they complain about having to chase Facebook, because it feels like Facebook has a ton of control over the media.



Deep down in the piece, Rhodes comments:
All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.

When you think about it, Rhodes might as well be talking about all media — political, celebrity, business, technology, science. The need for speed and cheap has turned everything into a race to post, providing little time for reporters to learn, curate and develop sources and original thinking. You can’t do that when you have to write 10 posts a day. It is completely disrespectful to treat your readers with such contempt that you offer them fluff with the nutritional value of Chicken McNuggets!

At Gigaom we didn’t push our reporters to do 10 posts a day. I always advised folks to write on an average 1,250 words a day. That could be a single piece, two pieces or four. More than 25 years of writing have taught me that if you keep writing more on a daily basis, you get sloppy and repetitive and lose your edge. You end up using the same words again and again. There is a blandness when you have to write 3,000 to 4,000 words a day.

The grind of the clickbait isn’t going to help anyone!

But instead the media establishment sits around and complains about the wrong things. Two foreign policy reporters are stomping their feet, upset about the insinuations of the New York TimesMagazine profile. Others are bitching about Facebook combining algorithmic editing with human curation in its Trending Topics newsfeed. They say Facebook is editorializing. I don’t see how it is any different than the editorializing by Fox, The New York Times, NBC or any other media outlet. Each one has its own agenda. But just because they call themselves “media,” their slant is okay! The front page has been put together in the past by humans. Except now it is an alogrithim that is doing the work, under the guidance of some humans who work for Facebook.

#socialmedia #humor #media #moronism #business #design

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