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Facebook’s algorithm change has spurred an angry, Fox News-dominated News Feed (niemanlab.org)
237 points by sethbannon on Mar 16, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 131 comments

Fox News dominates ratings on TV so its not surprising they'd be #1 - there's also the fact this is "engagements" and not click-throughs. I'd wager good 15% of these are probably people clicking "Angry" not actually engaging.

If you look at "content with the most shares" not surprisingly Reuters and Patch tops the list.

OP's headline presumes any algorithm should achieve left/right balance - this is just impossible.

There was a good tweet the other day something along the lines of

If I Google a headline the results are:

* New York Times: Your number of free articles is 0

* Wall Street Journal: Subscription needed

* Bloomberg: See this article for $1

* Fox News: Completely free

* Breitbart: Completely free

Seeing this its no stretch to understand why media struggles

>I'd wager good 15% of these are probably people clicking "Angry" not actually engaging.

Only 15%? I'd guess it's way, way more. Like 90%.

News today is primarily headline-driven. You don't have to sit down and watch the evening newscast anymore, you can just scroll through Facebook and see headlines and comments, which almost always drop context and nuance in a way that's engineered to make people upset.

In a way, it's probably the most irresponsible aspect of journalism today. The media's ethical priorities are incredibly outdated: if a writer makes a mistake twelve paragraphs into a fifteen paragraph article, it's a major problem requiring a correction. But if an editor appends a headline that actively misleads 100x as many people, no one has any problem with it.

The news, in this way, probably misinforms as much as it informs. This is why you get the wildly divergent realities on the right and the left. There's simply no professional awareness of the unbelievably damaging power of headlines that--from a consequentialist perspective--are frequently abject lies.

The correction will come when the News Orgs are limited/disconnected from the engagement feedback loop.

News orgs are basically functioning as info amplification nodes on the network. The talking heads have assumed greater importance, than the journos who are painstakingly digging up info. This needs to be revered.

The metrics (likes/clicks/views/retweets/upvotes) that drive this behavior of the news orgs have to be rethought.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit etc could get together and propose a standard of what metrics are optimal to cause that reversal and then put them into effect.

> News today is primarily headline-driven.

It always was. Newspapers were sold off the newstands via the headline. That's why headlines were large - so passersby could see them. That's why newsboys would yell out the headlines.

> There's simply no professional awareness of the unbelievably damaging power of headlines

Some would say this is by design and not just on the part of newsmakers but actual politicians on both sides of the spectrum. For the system to work as efficiently as it does a bimodal distribution is probably the best way to achieve that. Every one may be better off at the end thinking both they have a voice, someone taking care of their issues, and elected representatives don't have to struggle to satisfy a never ending range of diversely opinionated electorates.

"For the system to work as efficiently as it does"

I doubt the efficiency of this system.

I suggest that the incentives are mostly politically oriented, in the sense that editorial staff truly feel aligned with something they feel important to them, in addition to the 'money' incentive, which is severe in the world of news; they are always going out of business, and in a constant fight for ratings / viewers. There's a very serious and existential push to 'make money or die'.

Both of those elements combine to create a market orientation. If you consider news to be simply a product like any other, then you have 'customers' within specific 'demographics' and the editorialists to be 'product managers' with a 'P&L' ... when then they are incented to hustle the kind of information that fires those customers up and gets them clicking.

Taking a completely culturally secular view, one could argue the papers are just carving out their customer segments, just as any competing brands would.

I think this is the tweet: https://twitter.com/RogueNotary/status/1101179117574279168

BTW, I think it is not unreasonable to expect that different models of funding or engagement are differently represented on the left and right sides of politics. Contrary to certain views, the left and the right are not two equal, symmetric, graceful wings of a bird, keeping society in balance: they're two different worldviews and sets of fears and priorities. It's not inherently surprising that one would find their business more profitable with a smaller pool of paying customers, and the other finds more profit in a larger pool of casual visitors to whom to show ads, or that one finds more funding from the rich, or that one's worldview requires deeper and more nuanced storytelling than the other to support its conclusions.

That reminds me of how maps can distort information about populations because one side tends to live in smaller high-density urban centers while the other has a much lower density over a larger land area.

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2016/ is a pretty good example of that. A version of the fourth map on that page ("Here is a map of US counties...") is hanging somewhere in the West Wing; one of the ones at the bottom is perhaps more accurate.

The US Senate makes those maps meaningful.

For every other aspect of government, it’s one man one vote. For the Senate, Wyoming has the same representation as New York, even though the population is less than the Rochester metro area.

That's a really good point about the cost to view. If subscription revenue is paltry, and ad revenue is heading the same way, and public funding is out of the question, then patronage is the only option remaining - and patronage means vulnerability to influence by the patron. So some folks rage about ad-based revenue models, then rage about the outcomes they helped create. They're as dopamine-addicted as anyone.

Another problem with the article is that it’s missing the data from before the change. To reach a conclusion about a change, we need to look at the data before the change and the actual trend.

"* New York Times: Your number of free articles is 0

* Wall Street Journal: Subscription needed

* Bloomberg: See this article for $1

* Fox News: Completely free

* Breitbart: Completely free"

But BBC, Huffpo, CNN, NBC/MSNBC et. al. are free, and they actually dominate the list, i.e. those entities and a few others add up to something considerably bigger than Fox. Or Fox + the Mail + Breitbart, for the most part.

I think the headline was unnecessarily biased to the extent it doesn't paint the picture we see presented in the actual data, which is actually interesting and not quite so black and white.

So people tell me Breitbart is a propaganda machine financed by political manipulators, but Fox is certainly run like a business. What is Fox doing to make their content free that NYT and WSJ can't t?

Running an extremely profitable cable news channel. Their content isn't free, their web content is free and is paid for by their cable channel.

Breitbart's staffing seems also incredibly small. I don't think they produce more than 10 stories per day, with most of them just rewrites of other stories and putting their ideological spin to it. You can do this with maybe 3-5 editors and some freelancers. I suspect they are highly profitable.

I don't know whether Breitbart is propaganda or not. I've only read a handful of articles from it, but from the few I've seen, I like that they source their statements with hyperlinks. Take this one for example: https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2019/03/15/italy...

When the text says that Reuters published an article about a topic they actually link to it. I wish other news sites did the same.

People believe that paying higher costs for something mean it is of higher value than that which is free. "You get what you pay for." But if you disagree with the content of a site, why would you pay for it in the first place?

News is basically a loss leader for Fox. Their actual business purpose is something else entirely.

If I said what that was, it would appear that I was trying to start a political flame war on HN, so I won't. But most people here know what it is anyway.

Eventually, Bezos, Slim, and the Sulzbergers will have to decide what business they're in, just as Murdoch already has. Paywalls are not going to play a role in that business, and I frankly don't understand why they're bothering with them now.

Disney is acquiring Fox News effective within a month.

That was spun off, and not sold to Disney


Paying journalists to research and report the truth...

paywalls probably a huge part of it. I dont click paywalled sites

Being owned and funded by right-wing billionaires.

Surely anything that is not simply ignoring a post is an engagement as far as the algorithm is concerned. Which would include likes and angry etc. Perhaps they get weighted less than a reshare or comment, but I'm sure they're in there.

You reacted, however trivially, so you'll now get more of it. You'll get more of it even if you reshare with a comment along the lines of "this is complete rubbish".

So the more outrageous rises to the top.

One could also see that as evidence that traditional media outlets are holding on to an out of date business model and have at the same time lost the middle-right/right audience. The only media catering to their frame of looking at news are Fox or digital-only news services that fully embrace the free-news experience.

I’d still be surprised because cable news is dominated by the 55+ demographic. IIRC, less than 20% of viewers are 15-54.

Facebook doesn’t sell catheters and old people scooters, so I would guess that their audiences are more diverse.

* New York Times: Your number of free articles is 0 ...

The Washington Post recently tightened up their paywall, too.

I understand the economics of course but it seems obvious to me that if real newspapers charge then propaganda and anger porn will rule discourse.

If you want some more on the list for balance there are plenty of left wing Breitbarts you could add. Those are free too.

BTW I think fear porn / anger porn is an appropriate term. It releases brain chemicals that can be addictive just like sex porn. This explains some of its virality.

There are left wing Breitbarts just like there's MSNBC for TV. The issue then becomes why these are far less popular.

Its not because of a FB algorithm - that's for certain.

I can ask everyone in my family if they've heard of Breitbart and 99% will say yes. If I ask if they've heard of Rachael Maddow.. maybe 40%? This is despite both of them engaging heavily in anger porn

That's not really a valid comparison. Rachel Maddow is an anchor on MSNBC, which my guess is everyone has heard of. I know what Breitbart is but I don't know any of their writers by name.

Also, Rachel Maddow is probably the best example on air of non-fear-based programming. She usually spends the first 10 or so minutes of her show putting the forthcoming topic in historical context, and then proceeds with a rational, calm, and thoughtful examination of the topic. This oftentimes involves verbatim reading of court transcripts for 20 minutes. The majority of her show is a fixed camera on her with a static background graphic behind her. The rest of her show proceeds with interviews of a single guest with relevant topical experience (prosecutors, congresspeople, attorneys etc.) It's what you'd expect from a Rhodes Scholar and Oxford Ph.D. I never leave her program feeling angry, only ever informed.

Contrast this with Fox News, where the last time I tuned in to that channel 3 angry people were screaming across a table at each other about how liberals are going to outlaw hamburgers. The camera is flying around like a sportscast, and there's graphics and animations blaring in the background. The people in the room seem to have no relevant credentials as to the topic at hand. Are there any environmental experts at the table? Food science experts? No, there's just "political analysts" and "strategists".

Not sure why you need to be downvoted.

I think the commonality is that Rachel Maddow and the talking heads at Fox News aren't journalists. They spend their time telling their audiences how to think. They just do it differently.

If you want the news rather than someone telling you how to think you don't need either.

Btw Glenn Greenwald has reported about the biases of Rachel Maddow quite a number of times.

Greenwald has also been complicit with Assange and Wikileaks. He shouldn’t be the torchbearer around reporting biases.

Not sure why you’re being downvoted.

Have a gander at comedian Jimmy Dore's take on Rachel Maddow:


Jimmy is a Bernie guy by the way, not a Trump guy. I recommend any Democrat who is confident in their beliefs to spend some time watching him to see if your information feed might be overlooking some information or perspectives.

EDIT: it's interesting, although not surprising, that simply offering an alternative perspective results in downvotes.

i definitely agree you should not be downvoted for offering an alternative perspective

This is an environment filled with people who believe adding a prefix or suffix to Capitalism somehow makes a good Capitalism. Thinking outside of boxes only happens offline, contrary to everything the cult believes.

If you don't read the second paragraph, it seems 100% obviously a case of sarcasm. For some reason, sarcasm goes over badly on HackerNews. Given the second paragraph though, and prior post history... I think it was serious. OMG.

Do you actually have anything to add to the diacussion though? I contrasted Rachel Maddow and Fox News with examples. You just want to shake your head and downvote, fine, but don't add a comment like this with absolutely no substance.

The only reason I don't watch her show anymore is the endless drug company ads.

The las time I watched Maddow was when there was some news coming out about Trump's possible hotel deal in Moscow, and how it ostensibly was canned in Aug 2017 and not April.

She was spinning a huge web of conspiratorial possibilities.

She's a brilliant advocate, well informed, and never 'crosses the line' - but she's definitely an advocate.

I'd listen to her more if she moved over to NPR or something along those lines.

I don't watch her, but I'm told she pushes a lot of Russian conspiracy theories.

What about NPR? BBC? Those are free and fairly unbiased.

BBC has a well-documented centre-right status quo stance. They're pretty consistent about it, so at least you can mentally adjust for it.


  has the biggest army in the world
Actually, the seventh biggest. (IISS, quoted in Wikipedia)

> a country that elected Bush then Trump

> Not very reassuring.

You left out 8 years of Obama somewhere in there.

Obama was not a dangerous president from a European perspective.

Bush and Trump on the other hand have been raising a lot of concerns. The first one for lying to his people to get to war and tell the UN to go to hell. The second one has just too many red flags to even begin with.

Well he was pretty dangerous from a Libyan Syrian and Yemeni perspective

Long time ago, my facebook newsfeed was full of my friends' sharing, it's been very useful place for us to keep friends update. But now, it's a different place. It's a place for ads, for livestream, for real "social" stuffs, but most of them is useless to me for what i use facebook for.

Facebook's business model is inherently in conflict with the use cases for normal people which you've just described. When you only spend time engaging with your friends and family, you cost Facebook money. Facebook only wants you on the platform because you contribute to the network effect. The people who make all the money for Facebook are the masses who are most easily swayed by all of the manipulation going on.

The Facebook news feed is dead to anyone but trolls, at least in my anecdotal experience.

Facebook is only useful for its yellow pages function. Unfortunately that alone is enough to keep my social circle on Facebook. It’s just really hard to break away, because social circles consists of people with different social circles, and not everyone is going to replace Facebook with the samething, and then everyone is still on Facebook.

Maybe e-mail could be the core of the next generation yellow pages? It’s the only thing everyone has.

My Facebook news feed is fine. I actively unfollow (hide all from) almost all shared third-party content (including news) so that I mostly only see original content from my friends and family.

I don’t follow anything that isn’t people I know and meet at least semi-regularly in the real world. I’ve actively unfollowed a few of them (shhh), but my feed can go a few days with no updates from the 90 people I’m down to.

But of course that’s my anecdotal view. I just never saw the point in following a company or a news paper on a social media.

The issue is that sometimes friends will share posts from third-party pages, and then those sometimes show up in your feed. You have to manually hide all from each source in order to prevent that.

Excuse me, do you mean white pages? I don't use Facebook for finding businesses.

I guess I do, in Denmark they came in the same book called the yellow pages (de gule sider). I guess that was because we’re a tiny nation, but now that you mention it the “people” pages were indeed white.

Email was killed by spam (and lack of ease of use) long ago. Now it's mostly used by business.

That’s interesting, my news feed these days is almost 100% free of any news.

Only really big topics make it through like the New Zealand shooting.

Have you tried curating your feed by unfollowing pages, groups, people who share things you don’t like?

I’ve noticed more people engaged with LinkedIn over the last year. People are sharing things I once saw on Facebook years ago: personal achievements and struggles, side hobbies, congratulations, etc. Surprisingly, I’ve found myself considering engaging with content on LinkedIn a few times the last few months.

LinkedIn is good. The fact that people depend on it to find work seems to keep things reasonably well-behaved. At least for now.

My feed is still pretty reasonable, but I also aggressively delete people I don't interact with and use the "Block all from <X>" option very liberally. Also, unfollowing people who you need to be friends with (for family reasons, etc.) but whose crap you don't want to see can work pretty well.

This sounds like an opportunity, a social media platform that separates all political content to some secondary feed would be interesting...

That is an interesting idea, sort of like how Gmail has the "Social" and "Promotions" tab.

Seeing the top shared and engaged content in this article is pretty much the exact reason I and pretty much everyone I know abandoned Facebook long ago. It has been reduced to mostly just a place for people who are highly addicted to outragePorn clickbait. As the article says:

> ...Instead, it’s often an angry, reactive place where people go to get worked up and to get scared.

I haven't checked to see if this has been studied, but I'd wager a years salary that information which causes fear and/or outrage are highly addictive and that Facebook's core crowd are hooked. I'd also wager that this addiction is why so many aren't concerned with whether or not the information is accurate, as long as they get their dose.

It's funny how clearly people are addicted to outrage, yet also in complete denial about it. They don't see it as outrage, instead it's measured, proportional, and reactionary response to the opposition. It's the opposition that's addicted to outrage, not my team.

Unfortunately I think we've forged a new road to politics, we can call it "outrage marketing". The more the opposition is outraged, the more publicity you get - the more extreme candidates from both sides bubble up in popularity.

Related video to watch: CGPGrey, This video will make you angry.

I wish it could be made illegal to optimise for engagement.

“Engagement” their acceptable replacement word for what they really want to optimise for: Addiction.

It’s such a slippery slope, but you’re so right.

Chemists designed a chemical that’s optimized for engagement too — it’s called heroin!

On the other side, one could argue that just about any successful product or service, by definition, optimized for engagement (addiction). Hit TV shows, beautiful vacation spots, sex. So where do you draw the line?

Actually heroin was initially sold as a less addictive alternative to morphine.

The problem is that it's also a replacement word for "users genuinely like the thing and want to keep using it". It troubles me when people use it as a smokescreen for adding addictive elements, but I don't think the solution is to say nobody can make their platform fun.

Polarisation is how Google, Facebook and Twitter manage to be popular platforms. It's nothing more than returning the results that you want are searching.

What these platforms need is transparency and a web of trust pretty much the same as distributed version control systems. Look at Linux and how the source is managed, it would be a good model for social media in combination with blockchain for engagement.

"Engagement" is unfortunately a proxy for "profit," if a business is ad-supported or otherwise has revenue proportional to use. And it is basically illegal not to optimize for profit. (You do not have to micro-optimize every decision for short-term profit, but you do have to act in the best interests of the company, and the best interest of a for-profit company is, at the end of the day, profit.) Netflix has said one of their major competitors is now the desire to go to sleep instead of keeping watching, for instance.

If you want to make optimizing for engagement illegal—a plan I support, tbh—you need to eliminate capitalism either from the inside or the outside. From the inside, you can try to win hearts and minds of customers and employees with endeavors that aren't structured for profit, e.g., public-benefit corporations or perhaps hybrid non-profit models (like Mozilla, or like OpenAI's new thing, which I am cautiously optimistic about, or like Etsy before they gave up their B-corp status to save the business, which is part of the caution in my optimism). If you can hire all the best employees away from the Facebooks and Netflixes of the world to the Mozillas and Etsys of the world (which, given the number of software engineers who are incredibly frustrated about spending their days micro-optimizing ad engagement, doesn't actually seem that hard), you can probably out-compete them. Or, from the outside, you can just make for-profit companies past a certain point of profit straight-up illegal (which is to say, make the government cease to recognize corporate structures beyond certain limits - this isn't additional government intervention, this is just the removal of government protections for corporations like the corporate veil, work-for-hire, "right-to-work," tax advantages, etc.).

First they came for the engagement optimizers...

Their feeds give them permission to like what they already like. Their feeds let them know that their culture is winning.


Worth reading the entire article, it's a great, if depressing read. I seriously wonder Facebook is up to the challenge here - they made algorithmic changes to make the news feed a better place and it very obviously failed. And yet they haven't changed a thing in reaction. Was anyone even looking?

It all feels incredibly reactionary: make a change to answer your critics and then forget all about it until it becomes an issue again.

Perhaps Facebook’s algorithms aren’t the issue. Maybe WE are the problem :)

I've created a news aggregator based on Wikipedia references. While this might be comparing apples to oranges, here's the list of the most cited websites by Wikipedia: https://cited.news/domains

It's still a bit buggy, so the "blank" domain is ranked #1, followed by NY Times, BBC and The Guardian.

Fox News is ranked at #93 at that list: https://cited.news/domains/show/www.foxnews.com/citations

Wikipedia itself is quite biased. Some domains are even banned despite providing real news with original reporting.

Know where to find that list? I googled around and couldn't get it.

No sources are actually blanket "banned". Some exceptionally bad ones like the Daily Mail are "deprecated", but that does not mean it can't be used anywhere ever. For your edification: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Per... (there's a legend at the bottom)

They are banned. Search your list for "blacklist". Note that the blacklisted sources are only on one side of the political spectrum -- not one thing on the other side got blacklisted.

Oh, you meant Breitbart and Infowars? Those can still be used, but require whitelisting; so still not a ban. You can read the linked discussions for more information. Not gonna rehash and spell it all out for you here. I wouldn't say two instances are a pattern of anything, but going by your logic, guess that side of the spectrum just has more history of spam and persistent abuse on the English Wikipedia.

Other people in this thread have already posted links to The Toxoplasma Of Rage by Slate Star Codex and This Video Will Make You Angry by CGP Grey, so I’ll just complete the set with You're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you by The Oatmeal:


That’s why I no longer participate in Facebook other than their marketplace. I also turn off retweets on Twitter. I want to see what my friends have to say, not what they share. Shared content is either garbage, propaganda, or news which I get elsewhere.

I'd love to see companies that use an algorithm to create "feeds" also release a full explanation on how the algorithm works. I prefer a chronological feeds mostly because then I know I'm not being manipulated by an algorithm. Making in transparent would give me confidence in it.

explaining algorithm would help bad actors to abuse it even more..

I have started to use FB for only humor and private groups about side projects.

I got tired of all the politics and news. If it bleeds it leads keeps the mind steeped in negativity.

I am using FB the same way. The only thing left making it useful are the groups and the event calendar function. Meetup still seems mostly driven by tech or some super niche topics while FB carters to a broad audience.

I would prefer a more niche product that would take the best of FB groups and meetup together.

Its nice to have focused discussion, but it is also good to actually get together face to face.

If you're wondering how articles like "Woman smears menstrual blood on face to show periods are beautiful and powerful" are motivated and end up getting amplified, look no further than The Toxoplasma Of Rage (Slate Star Codex)



"So there’s a tradeoff here, with X on one side and Y on the other.

X can get everyone to agree in principle that Q is bad, but no one will pay any attention to it.

And Y can get everyone to pay attention to Q, but a lot of people who would otherwise oppose it will switch to supporting it just because they’re so mad at the way it’s being publicized.

At least Y got them to pay attention! They’re traveling up an incentive gradient that rewards them for doing so, even if it destroys their credibility."


"People talk about the shift from old print-based journalism to the new world of social media and the sites adapted to serve it. These are fast, responsive, and only just beginning to discover the power of controversy. They are memetic evolution shot into hyperdrive, and the omega point is a well-tuned machine optimized to search the world for the most controversial and counterproductive issues, then make sure no one can talk about anything else. An engine that creates money by burning the few remaining shreds of cooperation, bipartisanship and social trust."

Things might be simpler if content aggregators had the option of making public their feed algorithms in exchange for not being responsible for user-posted content. Congress will eventually learn that automated censorship is not even close to being a solved problem, and it may never be truly solved. Whether or not automated zero-error censorship is even possible is a question for philosophers and mathematicians. I find it crazy that we're burdening companies with this job when we know so little about it.

Common sense tells us that users should be responsible for what they post. If you post something illegal, you should pay the price, not the ISP, not Google, not Facebook. If users aren't held accountable for their own actions, then they'll continue to post abominable things. It should not the responsibility of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. to provide a safety net for the user.

The internet is like a virtual highway. Some people build roads, but it is the responsibility of the rest of us to learn how to use those roads safely and in accordance with the laws. We usually don't punish the road-builders for accidents (unless the road was built with malicious intent).

This "study" simply tells me really nothing. It does sort out the types of users who want to connect and click on those posts in questions.

Personally speaking, I would look elsewhere for a more in-depth and bias-free analysis for any business driven venture. Too much presumptions made in this article. Just that the way it defines “meaningful interactions”, "divisive" topics, “angry” reaction, etc. is rather unprofessional.

A better way is to define and characterize the users of these news postings and get statistical averages on the response time and intensity of responses as well as commonly used words/phrase in reply.

CGP Grey has an interesting video about anger-inducing content and engagement:


Hey Mr. Zuckerberg,

Send me back my friends list, it's how facebook originated. And if you continue down this road.

It's how someone else might take over.

It's just common sense.

With friendly regards,

A facebook reader ( not a user anymore, since i don't post anything on it)

This is kind of sad, that angry is the top emotion. If FB was really optimizing for time well spent, you'd think the ranking system would be able to pick up on content or sources that predictably generate angry reactions.

That’s not FB optimizing, it’s Fox News

I realized my friends didn’t use Facebook. I didn’t use Facebook much. It was just ads and pages posting crap that played with my emotions. I kept Facebook so I could message a friend if I was in their city and we could meet. I held my account for years in that hope. I then realized I haven’t messaged anyone for a year. I mostly use other channels. I deleted Facebook and been happy ever since. My entire circle of friends is mostly Facebook zombies.

My prediction is it will be a generational thing. Kinda like how young people really don’t buy that much jewelry compared to their parents

> the “angry” reaction dominates many pages, with “Fox News driving the most angry reactions of anyone, with nearly double that of anyone else.”

So does this mean that Fox News is dominating the news feed because of liberal people hating on it, or is it because of articles that Fox News writes that riles up their base?

I think it's healthier to avoid dividing everybody into two categories, and interpreting everything with respect to those.

But to answer your question within your own worldview, it's both.

Why aren’t you commenting this at the OP? Do you think “Fox News dominated” wasn’t intentionally playing into the idea of dividing everybody into two categories?

I think "Fox New dominated" is the headline because the research it is reporting on shows that Fox News dominates the rankings in feeds.

edit: also I did respond to the top level, but with a link to something which I felt contributed to my understanding of this topic:


Perhaps you can enlighten me on other reasons that people would react with an angry emoji, aside from the two I described.

Also, I’m not interpreting everything with respect to two categories — I'm interpreting single study this way.

There may be two broad motivations for leaving an angry emoji; either they are angry at the article or the article made them angry. However categorizing these two groups as "liberal" or "their base" isn't justified. It may be the case that somebody, perhaps a conservative, is angry at Fox News for a particular spin or editorialization but generally likes other Fox News articles. It may also be the case that somebody who considers themselves something other than "liberal" or "Fox News' base" finds a Fox News article in their facebook stream and is either angry at Fox News or because of Fox News. It's also possible, although perhaps less likely, that a liberal might become angry not at Fox News but because of what Fox News is reporting. They might not be amused to see Fox News in their stream, but it's certainly possible that the substance of the story has them angered even more.

To give an example, consider this current Fox News headline:

> New Zealand shooting's a social media wake-up call -- YouTube, others, must stop amplifying violent crimes

[A 'fox news conservative' sees that headline and leaves an angry emoji.] Is it because he's angry about the shooting? Or angry at Youtube/etc? Or angry because he thinks Fox news is cynically exploiting the tragedy to take pot shots at a tech company?

[A liberal sees that headline and leaves and angry emoji.] Is it because he's angry that Fox News is making it into his news feed? Or because he's angry at the shooting? Or angry at youtube/etc? Or angry because he thinks Fox news is cynically exploiting the tragedy to take pot shots at a tech company?

You really can't say. Any particular individual may have their own reason for posting an angry emoji at a headline like that. For a headline like that, it's quite possible for a liberal and a fox news conservative to have the exact same reason for leaving an angry emoji.

I completely agree that the angry emoji is ambiguous, and I actually commented about this on FB when they first released it. I guess my larger point is that the fact that Fox News is at the top of the list for angry emoji could mean various things. Given the high regard I have for Nieman Lab, I was surprised that they didn't even attempt to parse this, or discuss how it is an ambiguous result.

The thing is that most people prefer to be in between liberal and conservative and see the flaws on either pendulum extremes.

Also, they tend to use a lot more inflammatory language and wound-inflicting statements than those in the middle or near-middle.

That's why we should refrain from being either group.

I'm not sure how I feel about ladbible leading breitbart.

Angry? It makes you angry but that doesn't mean it's angry. Just like hate speech that causes you to hate but isn't necessarily motivated by hatred.

Read the article. "Angry" in this context is the Facebook reaction (such as the "like").

You are right, but that metric is even more meaningless.

Fox New Headline ”Immigration crisis confirmed as 70,000 illegals pass into USA in Feburary - CBP”

Guess what? People on the left and right both ‘ANGRY’ that for different reasons.

I think the point here is that the Angry reaction is a signifier of divisive content. Divisiveness gets people talking, so the metrics look good even though the discourse is unhealthy and tearing society apart on both sides.


Those three are not the “left-wing equivalent” of Fox. See, for example, the media bias chart: https://www.adfontesmedia.com

Left equivalents of Fox are Daily Kos et al.

It looks like that chart just assumes that the median news is neutral. This is not a valid assumption. What is "Neutral" anyway? When news sources are compared against public opinion in the USA, Fox is just a tiny bit left of center now. This should make it obvious why Fox is the most popular news channel. If Fox were really "Hyper-Partisan Right" bordering on "Most Extreme Right", then it couldn't possibly be as popular as it is.

Can we talk about how Fox News is literally at the intersection of the Yellow, Orange, and Red rectangles? For context:

- Yellow: Fair interpretation of the news

- Orange: Extreme/unfair interpretation of the news

- Red: Nonsense damaging to the public discourse

> livestream

Watching very closely to see how they handle this.

Fox news is the new 700 club. It's a steady diet of comfort food.

Funny dog videos are “comfort food”. Fox News is hate porn.

Please don't post unsubstantive comments here, especially not ideological flamebait. It just leads to crap discussion.

We've had to warn you a lot about this in the past. I appreciate that your comments have improved considerably. But please don't relapse. The temptations to post like this are only rising, and we all need to resist them.

Fox runs approx ~50% negative content on Trump. MSNBC run 92%+ negative [0] [1] [2]

If your view of Fox News was largely based from 2008 and The Daily Show - How could you know?

With a blanket statement like “Fox News is hate porn” you clearly aren’t seeking alternative viewpoints. This isn’t even getting into that you are lumping Fox NEWS and Fox News Channel Opinion Shows together which isn’t unfair to do so long as you do the same with CNN and MSNBC alike).

[0] https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/media-trump-ha...

[1] https://www.npr.org/2017/10/02/555092743/study-news-coverage...

[2] https://www.chicagotribune.com/g00/news/columnists/kass/ct-t...

Just because Fox is 50% negative on Trump and MSNBC is 92% negative, doesn't mean in aggregate, Fox is less negative. There are other news topics, beyond Trump. Hard to believe, I know, but there are.


Would you please not use HN for ideological or political battle? We ban accounts that do this, regardless of their ideology or politics, because it destroys the site for what it exists for (intellectual curiosity). Please see the guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

Parent comment was indeed terrible, but great-grandparent’s “Fox News is hate porn” started the ideological battle.

Ok, I'll reply to that one too.

why is fox news “angry” yet i’m sure feeds full of aoc and black lives matter would be considered woke. Biased article. The anger is very prevalent with both sides.

"Angry" is the facebook reaction.

Dividing the world into two "sides" isn't good for us.

I don't think the world of political discourse is really divided into two "sides" as you imply, despite that being useful for media that make money from making people angry.

I’m open minded to what you are saying - but if you don’t think there are “sides” or at least someone has a strong interest in promoting that idea - it may because you are too firmly planted in one side yourself.

I agree with GP, as someone with no clear cut political ideology, it’s obvious that wedge issues are formed and selected to fit divisions.

See no further than almost every establishment Democrat having talked about border security for years, even building a wall in comments, now voting against anything border related because “their side” has adopted that Trump wants border security so they must be fully against it. [0]

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gISMNv3qm8M&app=desktop (just picked a “Democrat for Wall” result, my personal opinions on that completely aside. You could pick any wedge issue and find a more reasonable time for it)

I think they are just counting the "reaction" of the users with the content, and suggesting there are a greater portion of people picking the "angry" reaction on the Fox News articles.

Exactly. Someone with currently no political home what-so-ever, anyone else here that thinks otherwise needs to take a step back and evaluate the extremism that has taken over both sides.

“Angry” is the new “Dark”.

It's still wild to me Fox News, with its 18.5M followers is still following its boycott of Twitter, and hasn't tweeted since last November.

Neither has Fox News Politics, (2M followers) or Fox and Friends (1.3M followers).

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