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Great analysis. 'Like-gate' is a narrow name for the controversy, though, with its political-scandal undertones and narrow focus on 'likes' and FB pages. This same battle is happening elsewhere, like in Twitter's 'omnipresent single column newsfeed' and Google's analogous prime mental real estate.

(I don't yet have a more broad and vivid name, but it should evoke the idea that this is a battle to enclose/own/monopolize parts of people's attention/mind/voice, subtly enough they don't recoil away.)

I think the 'single column newsfeed' will soon be recognized, despite its usefulness, as a somewhat abusive interface pattern. It artificially heightens the sense of novelty by mixing very unlike (and often repetitive) items. It artificially heightens the sense of urgency with the rapid decay of position down the page. Such 'cognitive sweeteners' bring more attention and excitement in the present but ultimately aren't good for the audience: they're noise rather than signal. Eventually countervailing habits will develop.

I wonder if that's what's in it for Caldwell's App.net. Facebook and Twitter can't let users break out of their false-prioritized presentation, without breaking their promotional business models. So anything which better ranks, summarizes, and filters items for a user's attention is a potential threat. Not so on App.net: there you might pay for a less-abusive interface (advanced, non-sugary reading software).

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