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Facebook’s fake news

September 20, 2016 - Posted by

From bloggers to elected officials, everyone was talking about Facebook’s trending topics section last spring. People were particularly worried about allegations of censorship, which Facebook flatly denied.

This August, Facebook officially went all-in on its algorithm, firing the human editors and counting on the AI. The move wasn’t unexpected; in fact, the only thing surprising was that they didn’t promote it more, since they had always planned to have the algorithm take over.

Or maybe that was good planning on Facebook’s part, considering it only took a few hours for a hoax article about Megyn Kelly and reports of people behaving badly with a McChicken (nswf, and it’s really not worth the search) to dominate the stream.

Oops, indeed.Cher Clueless

Professional journalists are simultaneously breathing a sigh of relief that the algorithm couldn’t hack it and worrying about the future implications for the industry. Let’s face it: Facebook is a dominant social network, if not the dominant one, and Americans increasingly get their news from social media. In fact, the average user is spending 50 minutes per day on Facebook and/or Instagram.

So for anyone, journalist or advertiser, who wants to reach users where they already are, Facebook is a pretty good bet. The thing is Facebook is in the business of making money for Facebook. That isn’t a bad thing by any means, but the implications of algorithms can be huge.

The good news: Facebook, along with Twitter, YouTube and Buzzfeed, just joined First Draft, an organization that helps newsrooms and publishers verify stories. First Draft also has some helpful tips for sharing information in ways that don’t help hoaxers build backlinks.

And remember – if you’re not sure if a story’s real, there’s always Snopes.

 

About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Twitter is ready for some football

September 20, 2016 - Posted by

More specifically, a Jets/Bills game it streamed live on Thursday night.  According to the NFL, the livestream averaged some 243,000 viewers. (The NFL also touted 2.3 people watching at least 3 seconds of the pre-game or game, but that sounds more like a load-testing statistic than actual viewership.)Twitter Thursday Night Football

And the response was… mostly good. Re/Code, which has a full write up of the experience, admits, It was fine.Engadget went so far as to say it “mostly worked.”  Techcrunch went so far as to say “Two million people streamed the NFL on Twitter last night and loved it,” but that’s just more unbridled enthusiasm than we can handle. The biggest complaint was a delay between the live broadcast and the stream.

It’s not just the video, though. Along with the game, viewers saw a stream of curated tweets from “players, refs, reporters, self-hating Jets fans.” And you can watch the stream anywhere that you access Twitter, including their new apps for Amazon Fire, Xbox One and Apple TV. Basically, it’s the experience we all wish we had for the Olympics (dang millennials!).

This is really good press for Twitter, who could use some good press about now.  It’s also right in line with CEO-for-now Jack’s Dorsey’s persistent argument that Twitter is a way to connect people to world events real-time, not “just” a social network.  It’s also another in a series of incremental moves that Twitter has been making, including a revenue-sharing model for video creators, read receipts for direct messages, a quality filter, and disappearing live notification buttons.

So did you try the Twitter stream? Plan to check it out this Thursday? We’d love to hear about it—just tweet us, of course!

 

About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.