Facebook, New York Times, Twitter discussed on This Week in Startups


The new york times ruse published an article yesterday about facebook's internal battle over data transparency specifically This article is focusing on post engagement data which skews obviously right leaning on facebook and often when you look at the top stories on facebook. Different ben shapiro and dan bongino who. I don't really listen to you. But he's a radio show host and he's far right political commentator. So you understand what's going on here. Facebook gathers and publishes data via a company called crowd tangle and this company. They acquired back in two thousand sixteen. And it basically tells you what post on. Facebook are getting the most engagement and it's used mainly by news publishers to track their performance of posts. If you didn't know news. Publishers will sometimes post four different headlines and they'll tasks which ones get the most engagement because they are addicted to getting traffic from twitter and facebook in other words. This is a new story and it gets very mattie here and this is where kevin ruse makes the cardinal sin of making himself the story. I think that that's the big angle here. Is that the new york times writing a story about themselves and their relationship with facebook which is incredibly complicated because facebook is also giving millions of dollars to the new york times. I believe cynically in an attempt to curry favor with him but here as we get into this very deep and weird relationship between the new york times and facebook this service crowd tangle was providing this data and then this journalist decided he would create his own twitter handle to feature this content so facebook's top ten is a twitter handle and gleefully publishes daily who is in the top ten pages in the last twenty four hours. So here's a tweet example on july fourteenth the top performing link posts by us. Facebook pages in the last twenty. Four hours are from four america and bench bench. Sean hannity ben shapiro newsmax dan bongino etc and. This is obviously a very weird situation. You have this service. That is run by facebook which has a business relationship with the new york times. We'll get into that in a moment. Then this journalist takes it upon themselves to make a essentially a dunking twitter handle now. I'm sure the journalists is going to say like. Oh i'm just sharing information but this is an agenda based twitter handle. I don't think kevin rose would have created this. If it wasn't with the agenda of wanting to show how right leaning facebook is so you have a left leaning newspaper that most people would say has gone really far left. And then you have this agenda based creation of twitter handle. If i was at the new york times it would've fired cabin for taking creating this news handle because it feels like activism or i would have just told them take it down right in sangam in some ways like what are you crazy like. You're taking this data. You're making this adversarial. Twitter handle to kind of make some crazy point about facebook as right leaning that is inserting yourself into the new story. Anything number one rule of being journalist is to not insert yourself into the story and not only did. He insert himself or he didn't just tweet from his account. Here are the top news sources on facebook. He made a dedicated service for it. That got really popular. And now you have. Facebook has two groups of people according to sources and the sources are obviously going to be anonymous and a lot of cases that there are people inside of facebook who are pro transparency including the former. Ceo and co founder brandon. Silverman of this service crowd tangle that was bought by Facebook and then you have this sort of anti transparency group which ruse calls team selective disclosure which included the vp of analytics and marketing. Alex schultz longtime facebook leader. actually started on outgrowth team According to my notes here and the selective disclosure team went out even the framing of that by kevin. Is you know interesting. I do think that it'd be great if all this information was public. But this isn't some big controversy here. Facebook skews older. Facebook skews middle america and twitter and instagram or more coastal elites and. Obviously all the you know. Journalists are blue check mark on twitter. So i'm sure the trending stories on twitter are going to be a little bit more to the left on facebook a little bit more to the right so much ado about nothing in a way but it does speak to just how lost the new york times is in their ability to be objective and just cover a story. This is why a lot of people feel the journalist at the new york times. Shouldn't be on twitter because it creates this murky relationship. What is going on here between facebook and twitter. And why should the journalist at the new york times be essentially taunting facebook by publishing this data day in and day out to try to make some sort of point here. and brian bolland Who left the company in november twenty twenty gave the following quotes one of the main reasons that i left. Facebook is that the most senior leadership in the company does not want to invest in understanding the impact of its core products. And it doesn't wanna make the data available to others to do the hard work and hold them. Accountable is a fair point. You know if your facebook and you give out all this information and it turns out the services right-leaning and it's influencing elections etc up. It is going to be Problematic and just like on twitter. It can be problematic if it's super left-leaning or you know when you remove trump from either or both of those this is a very weird thing for kevin roose to do and roos said about this. Every time tweet went viral got grumpy calls from facebook executives who were embarrassed by the disparity between what they thought. Facebook was a well lit public square. Where civility intolerance rain and the image they saw reflected in the twitter lists in september twenty twenty. The economist published an article. Facebook offers or distorted view of american news where the economists plot of charts comparing facebook engagement to website views. And as you can see facebook engagement it trance towards breitbart fox news. And if you look at the way if you look at the website page use a little more balanced now you have to be careful when making inferences here it could be that breitbart bar and fox news are covering topics. That cnn and msnbc are not covering so if they were to cover stories about. I'm just going to pick an example here. Hunter biden's artwork being sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars or whatever that story is. You might not actually see. Msnbc and cnn covering those therefore when breitbart and fox news do cover them they get one hundred percent of the attention from them. And let's face it. Breitbart and fox news are gonna write even more sensationalistic headlines. I think than cnn and msnbc would. We think that that's correct. Certainly with breitbart I think they're pretty far out there. So few company quotes from facebook executives. Discussing the article than email thread to the new york times. And this is a quote. From the times john pinette facebook's vice president of global communications e mail the link to the article. This is the economists article was just discussing to a group of executives the subject. Line the trouble. With crowd. Tangle writing the economist steps into the kevin ruse bandwagon. So here i guess this thread. This email threads Not clear in the new york times was obtained by kevin roose and that they are talking about him. Framing with this twitter handle the surge antagonistic twitter handle putting these top trending sources which are obviously right-leaning and saying that now it's influencing in spreading to the economist nick clegg facebook's vice president global affairs replied our own tools are helping journals to consolidate the wrong narrative. Now it's not clear the wrong narrative the narrative that facebook doesn't want out there or inaccurate narrative fiji cmo the head of facebook's app at the time just tapped to lead instacart wrote. I really worry that this could be one of the worst narratives for us. Okay when several executives wanted to publish reach data instead of engagement crowd tangles chief executive replied that crowd tangle team had already tested a feature to do that and found problems with it one issue was that false and misleading new stories. Also rose to the top of those lists according to ruses reporting for the new york times. So there's a difference between engagement and how many views people get to a story. And this is in defense of kevin and his kind of meta point or his agenda here. And i don't think that journalists at the new york times should be doing this kind of agenda based journalism. Maybe if it's on the editorial page but the one point that is correct here is shorts. It leans right but also that fake news misleading news link beatty headlines..

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