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
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 The media's ethical priorities are incredibly outdated: if a writer makes a mistake twelve paragraphs into a fifteen paragraph article, it's a major problem requiring a correction.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* 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.
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.
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.
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.
Facebook doesn’t sell catheters and old people scooters, so I would guess that their audiences are more diverse.
The Washington Post recently tightened up their paywall, too.
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.
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
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".
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.
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.
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.
has the biggest army in the world
> Not very reassuring.
You left out 8 years of Obama somewhere in there.
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.
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.
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.
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?
> ...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.
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.
“Engagement” their acceptable replacement word for what they really want to optimise for: Addiction.
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?
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.
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.).
It all feels incredibly reactionary: make a change to answer your critics and then forget all about it until it becomes an issue again.
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
I got tired of all the politics and news. If it bleeds it leads keeps the mind steeped in negativity.
Its nice to have focused discussion, but it is also good to actually get together face to face.
"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."
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).
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.
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)
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
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?
But to answer your question within your own worldview, it's both.
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:
Also, I’m not interpreting everything with respect to two categories — I'm interpreting single study this way.
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.
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.
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.
Left equivalents of Fox are Daily Kos et al.
- Yellow: Fair interpretation of the news
- Orange: Extreme/unfair interpretation of the news
- Red: Nonsense damaging to the public discourse
Watching very closely to see how they handle this.
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.
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).
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 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. 
 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)
Neither has Fox News Politics, (2M followers) or Fox and Friends (1.3M followers).