Tag Archives: social media

Facebook Doesn’t Want to Be Your News Source, And They Don’t Have to Be

Facebook doesn’t want you to get news from them. Wednesday, Facebook announced that new changes to the News Feed would change how content is presented and what content gets priority.

The new News Feed will prioritize content and posts from people on your friends list over content from pages you like or trending posts. USA Today brought up the point that “publishers and news outlets, who rely on Facebook users to click on their content and generate ad revenue, may suffer the most with the change.”

These changes come in the wake of the allegations against Facebook for showing political bias in their Trending Topics bar.

People have been relying on Facebook for their news for many years. The Pew Research Center tackled this in a study that showed that 30% of Americans use Facebook as their primary news source. Although many have been using Facebook this way, it was not necessarily the intent of Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the Facebook executive team.

Chris Cillizza from the Washington Post complained that “[p]rioritizing news content based on what your friends either like or share furthers the siloing of our news consumption. The people you are friends with on Facebook are, in 99 out of 100 cases these days, people with whom you share a common worldview.” What Cillizza fails to realize is that Facebook isn’t out to educate the masses and challenge your principles.

The announcement by Facebook’s Vice President of Product Management Adam Mosseri included thoughts on the purpose of Facebook. Mosseri stated that “We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about. We are in the business of connecting people and ideas — and matching people with the stories they find most meaningful.” While some may be upset at the new changes, the changes themselves are more in line with the vision that Facebook and Mosseri have for their company.

There have been claims that Facebook is ruining the prominence of news on their platform by implementing these changes. What many fail to understand is that Facebook is not a news outlet. They’re not even a compilation of news stories from elsewhere on the web. These changes aren’t meant to be censoring content or promoting bias towards one position or the other.

The case, however, must be made in support of Facebook, even if they did pick and choose what content to allow on your feed. Since Facebook never claimed to be a news source or outlet, they are at the liberty to determine what content shows up on their site, regardless of how influential they are in society. If consumers have a problem with non-news outlet Facebook dropping news content from their feed, maybe it’s time they find a real newsource.

Social Media Is Making Some Regulators Obsolete

The main justification behind local, state, and federal regulation is consumer protection. A few decades ago, before ubiquitous Internet access, this reasoning may have made some sense. But in today’s economy, information is in the hands of consumers due to social media’s user-generated content.

This means that regulators do not have to play as large of a role in protecting consumers. As the power dynamic continues to shift in favor of customers, the need for an expansive regulatory framework further diminishes.

Thanks to the disruption caused by Internet access, consumers have more power than ever before. In the past, customers controlled the buying decision, but products or services and information about them were controlled, or at least heavily influenced, by businesses.

Read the rest on Economics 21 here.