If you missed the very first Interface Live last week, I hope you can visit me this week! I talk to Clara Tsao, a researcher and entrepreneur who focuses on disinformation and platforms, during a free event in San Francisco. It is Tuesday at 6:30 pm and I would like to see you there. The event is free, and you can RSVP here.
When I think of my ideal relationship between Facebook and journalism, something I have more or less been doing since 2016, this always involves transport costs: payments from Facebook to publishers to support their journalism, in exchange for the right to freely transfer it to bring all their product surfaces. If I said Columbia Journalism Review this summer:
Just as cable companies pay for access to high-quality channels, social networks also have to pay for access to high-quality journalism. It is a win-win-win: publishers receive money for journalism; readers get news they can trust; and Facebook gets a higher quality news environment that can strengthen our democracy and make the entire site more attractive to readers and advertisers.
My dream came true on Friday. The company announced Facebook news, an experimental tab in the mobile apps of the company where news comes from BuzzFeed, the Wall Street Journal, USA today, and others. In return, some (but not all) of those publishers will receive direct payments, in some cases for millions of dollars during the multi-year term of the contract.
Crucially, publishers who earn income without having to do a lot of extra work – this is a payment for the work they would already do, and can now invest again in high-quality journalism. Compare that with Instant Articles, Facebook's previous big swing with media companies, where publishers had to rebuild their publication workflows to create a product that generated less revenue than the product it replaced. (Actually, I will just compare it for you: the shipping costs are much better!)
Mark Zuckerberg marked the announcement of Facebook & # 39; s new deal with the media with a fireplace chat with the CEO of News Corp. and a op-ed in the New York Times in which he undertook to contribute to a more sustainable financial future for journalism. "We know we need to help build a stable model," Zuckerberg wrote. "Unlike other things we've tried in the past, this is a multi-year commitment that should give publishers the confidence to plan ahead."
It says something about the current public perception of Facebook, the historical enemy publishers are opposed to it, and the increasing popularity of Facebook dunking among journalists on Twitter that this news was all received as in fact a bad thing.
The problem was Breitbart. Here's Adi Robertson The edge:
Facebook News cooperates with various regional newspapers and some major national partners, including USA today and The Wall Street Journal. But as The New York Times and Nieman Lab report, are "trusted" sources too Knitbart, an extreme right-wing site of which co-founder Steve Bannon once described it as a platform for the white nationalist & # 39; alt-right & # 39 ;. Knitbart has been criticized for being repeated inaccurate and inflammatory reporting, often at the expense of immigrants and people of color. Last year Wikipedia declared it one unreliable source for quotes, next to the British tabloid Daily mail and the left site Occupy Democrats.
that is led to questions about why Knitbart belongs on Facebook News, a function that will supposedly be held to stricter standards than the normal news feed. In a question and answer session after the interview, Zuckerberg said Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan that Facebook would have "objective standards" for quality. (…)
But when New York Times reporter Marc Tracy asked how inclusive Knitbart that cause served, Zuckerberg emphasized his politics, not his reporting. "Part of the fact that this is a trusted source is that it must have a diversity of views, so I think you want content that represents different perspectives," he said. Zuckerberg reiterated that these perspectives should meet the standards of Facebook, and he was cage-like KnitbartThe presence, which says that "someone is possible or eligible to appear," does not guarantee frequent placement. "But I certainly think you want to add broad content to it," he said.
The conversation went on until the weekend, with many hurt tweets. Instagram boss Adam Mosseri even went so far as to say that he did not want Breitbart in Facebook news himself, but argued that Facebook should not exclude publications from the tab for ideological reasons.
It seems to me that Breitbart is precisely included in the tab in front of ideological reasons – for the "breadth of content" reasons Zuckerberg mentioned. Certainly on Facebook no one seems to suggest that Breitbart is a reliable producer of high-quality journalism – the argument seems rather that it would be a bad form to exclude them, just because they once tagged (for example) relevant stories with the label "Black crime " Different perspectives and such.
I ended up at Mosseri – Breitbart does not belong in Facebook news. Breitbart must have a Facebook page and be able to freely share links in the news feed, assuming it does not violate the company's standards. But including the publisher on the News tab increases the work and supports it financially. It gives the exhaust both freedom of expression and freedom of reach when it only deserves the first.
Similar to Zuckerberg's decision to exempt politicians' ads from fact-checking, which is contrary to the platform integrity team's efforts to remove misinformation from Facebook, the decision to bring Breitbart to its stable of trusted news partners appears in conflict with his efforts to promote a healthy news environment. (Among other things, the site has a special section & # 39; Fake News Freakouts & # 39; which mainly exists to undermine confidence in reported journalism.)
Facebook is now in a position where it fights wrong information with one hand and trains the platform with another. Like Mike Isaac reported in the Times today, which led to a debate within the company, in which more than 250 employees signed a post asking the company to revise its policies to exempt advertisements from politicians from checking on facts. In the letter, employees worried that the move could:
Increase mistrust in our platform by letting comparable paid and organic content sit side by side – some with fact-finding by third parties and others without. Moreover, it communicates that we OK benefit from intentional misinformation campaigns by people in positions of power.
You can imagine that employees have a similar criticism of Breitbart as a news partner – that distrust on the platform increases by sitting next to traditional publishers. We will see.
In the meantime, we continue to see stunts that challenge Facebook's conflicting policies. A political action committee has incorrectly purchased an advertisement stating that Senator Lindsay Graham supported the Green New Deal (if only); Facebook did it. And a Californian man on Monday paperwork submitted to the governor with the express intention of using his status as a candidate to display fake political advertisements on Facebook. Donie O & # 39; Sullivan reported:
Hampton told CNN Business that he will use his new status as a candidate to post fake ads on Facebook about President Trump, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and other Facebook executives. He also said he plans to show fake ads on Facebook about Twitter executives, who also have a policy of not checking ads run by candidates.
His goal is to force Facebook to stop allowing politicians to display fake ads.
Which argument will ultimately bear the day? Probably the one who helps Facebook grow the most, as Charlie Warzel argued a very necessary part during the weekend:
Because Mr. Zuckerberg is currently one of the most powerful people in politics – and because the stakes feel so high – there is a desire to give him a political label. That is understandable, but largely beside the point. Mark Zuckerberg may well have political beliefs. And every action has political consequences. But he is not a republican or democrat in how he uses his power. The only real political conviction of Mr. Zuckerberg is that he is the director of Facebook. His only consistent ideology is that connectivity is a universal good. And his only consistent goal is to promote that ideology at almost any price.
Critics who want Breitbart to disappear from the News tab or lies to disappear from advertisements by politicians should probably start by arguing that Facebook is growing faster without them.
Today in news that can influence the public perception of the major technological platforms.
Trending up Instagram has extended the prohibition of self-damaging content to drawings and cartoons. The move came in response to public outrage over the death of teenager Molly Russell, who committed suicide after viewing graphic content on the platform.
Popular: Facebook ads removed from a proTrump super PAC that used scare tactics in an attempt to obtain voter data. The ads were aimed at people in Arizona.
Trending sideways: Judd Legum has a network of Facebook pages that exist solely to promote the right-hand site The daily caller, sometimes use misleading labels, but Facebook says it doesn't qualify as & # 39; coordinated mock behavior & # 39 ;, says Evelyn Douek it is part of a greater legitimacy crisis about the meaning of that term.
⭐ Microsoft won a $ 10 billion contract from the Department of Defense, to beat Amazon in a month long struggle over who would provide cloud computing services to the military. Kate Conger, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane at The New York Times have the story:
The 10-year Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, known as JEDI, had triggered a confrontation under Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Google for the right to transform the army's cloud computing systems. The bitter process included intensive lobbying efforts and legal challenges at the rivals.
The fight was followed closely Trump raised his criticism Amazon Director Jeff Bezos, apparently against defense secretary James Mattis to & # 39; seduce & # 39; by bidding on the contract. (Zachary Cohen and Kevin Bohn / CNN)
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) draws up a bill to stop Facebook from taking advantage of wrong information. The legislation focuses specifically on the political advertising policy of the company that the congressman & # 39; not acceptable & # 39; called. Cicillin leads the House's antitrust investigation into big tech. (Cat Zakrzewski / The Washington Post)
In a leaked video Google Director Sundar Pichai acknowledged that the company is struggling with employee confidence after hiring Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security official who supported the travel ban on the Trump administration. (Greg Bensinger / The Washington Post)
The congressman grilling Mark Zuckerberg about vaccines during the Scale hearing is sharing anti-vax conspiracies on it Facebook. Bill Posey (R-FL) claimed to be a pro-vaccine, but urged Zuckerberg to let anti-vaxxers share their opinion. (Aaron Mak / Slate)
Human rights lawyer Jameel Jaffer states that Mark Zuckerberg incorrectly equates speech Facebook with free expression. "A world in which nobody's voice was silenced, but the public square was flooded with hatred and disinformation would not represent a triumph of free speech," he writes. (Jameel Jaffer / Knight First Amendment Institute)
California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill announced her resignation after nude photos were published online without her permission. She's going to fight the unconscious sharing of intimate images after she leaves Congress. Hill acknowledged having a consensual relationship with a campaign leader. (Makena Kelly / The edge)
Various Democratic presidential campaigns were targeted by an operation based in Russia Instagram. They said they were unaware of the disinformation efforts until the tech giant publicly announced them last week. (Isaac Stanley-Becker, Ellen Nakashima and Tony Romm / The Washington Post)
Trump told Apple Director Tim is cooking that he is not a fan of the swipe and wants his iPhone home button back. Apparently the president has recently upgraded to a new device. (Jay Peters / The edge)
The moderator that leads reddit r / relations subreddit, a community with 2.6 million members, said it keeps things civilized by removing tons of content. Its rules, including a ban on gender language and images of any kind, are much stricter than those of a typical social network. Context is everything in content management, and this article illustrates why. (Kaitlyn Tiffany / The Atlantic Ocean)
Taiwan has developed a social network to reach consensus on difficult policy decisions. With the platform, vTaiwan, experts and other stakeholders can discuss controversial issues. (Carl Miller / BBC)
India uses an opaque legal process to suppress Kashmiri journalists and commentary twitter. The company did not comply with every request, but in the second half of 2018, more accounts were withheld in India than in the rest of the world combined. (vi Asher-Schapiro and Ahmed Zidan / Committee for the Protection of Journalists)
⭐ twitter Director Jack Dorsey criticized Mark Zuckerberg on issues related to freedom of expression and Libra. Sarah Frier and Kurt Wagner from Bloomberg explain:
Like Twitter, Facebook's algorithm for sorting messages in a person's social media feed gives a greater weight to those who share and respond to users. This often means that the most flammable or surprising messages find their way to the largest audience. Unlike tackling his algorithm, Zuckerberg did not talk about the difference between content that naturally goes viral and promoted messages that people pay to send to a larger audience.
"It was a big gap and flaw in the material he encountered," Dorsey said.
Also: Dorsey said "hell no" when asked or twitter will ever participate Scale, at a media event in New York City. He added that Facebook did not have to make a cryptocurrency to achieve its goals of democratization of the financial system. (Ashley Carman / The edge)
Facebook usage fell 26 percent since 2017, according to new research by Activate Inc. It is still far ahead in terms of membership, with more than 2 billion users. The change is partly due to young people moving to Instagram, which Facebook owns. (Mark Sullivan / Fast operation)
Facebook will no longer use the word "unwanted" in the rejection messages it sends to potential advertisers. The company had used the word when rejecting advertisements with overweight or skin disorders. (Makena Kelly / The edge)
Facebook created a machine learning system to make people invisible for face recognition. The tool works by slightly distorting someone's face and was able to fool advanced face recognition systems. (Khari Johnson / VentureBeat)
YouTube favorite stunt philanthropist, Jimmy "MrBeast" Donaldson, is organizing a fundraising with more than 600 YouTubers, including PewDiePie and MKBHD, to plant 20 million trees. The goal is to raise $ 20 million. (Julia Alexander / The edge)
Facebook and Instagram banned "horny" emoji & # 39; s. Users can no longer associate eggplant and peach moji with sexual statements about being in the mood. This is an issue that I now & # 39; freedom from peach & # 39; and I hope that Congress gets involved. (Mikelle Street / from)
Clickhole made me laugh:
Zuckerberg ran into the farmer's cottage when his car broke down while driving home from Facebook's headquarters one evening. After knocking on Old Man Clemson's front door, the aging farmer generously offered him a place to sleep, with one strict stipulation: & # 39; Zuckerberg, you are welcome in my hospitality, but keep your distance from my daughter Gwendoline's information, & warned the farmer. "You avoid a user profile about her online surfing behavior and we all get along fine."