Algorithm and blues

May 09, 2016

"Today in Facebook Runs The Media And Doesn't Care About It," quips former The Atlantic editor Andrew Golis, sharing the news that former Facebook workers revealed they routinely suppressed conservative news (at 12,800+ shares right now). Golis later adds, "Actually that's unfair of me. This @Gizmodo story is really about Facebook trying to care about news and doing it in a ham-handed way." Ultimately the same thing, no? "#ProgVirtue strikes again.What you don't know, can't influence you. Thanks, Facebook," reacts Bill Frezza at The Daily Caller. "Aside from fueling right-wing persecution, this is a key reminder of dangers of Silicon Valley controlling content," points out The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald. "Editorially, Facebook basically run like a newspaper, if the top editors had minimal experience or news judgment," observes Jeff Bercovici at Inc. "Both sad & reassuring to learn that Facebook is a news org like any other. Had the potential for true objectivity," notes Greg Emerson, before adding, "Key takeaway from Facebook Trending exposé: True objectivity of neutral algorithm makes a terrible news curator." At ThinkProgress, Emily Atkin chimes in, "Facebook: It's ok to be left-leaning. It's not ok to lie to your audience and pretend you're neutral." Still, there were a few in the media who weren't all that bothered over this revelation. "FB isn't subject to media ethics, are they? So outrage is tempting but I'm not sure balance is required," reacts writer Pam Mandel. "IDK could also be because those sites sometimes/often write things that are not actually news," shrugs BillyPenn's Chris Krewson.

Relatedly, you'll want to read Part 1 of Re/code's The Facebook Papers, which is an equally scary read, and did you know Facebook Live doesn’t have to be live? Gawker also argues the feature is not much of a silver bullet for your newsroom: in other words, "If we measure online video views the way we measure TV audiences, the online media is in deep trouble." At Mic, Tom McKay muses, "Gawker right now is like the scientist in The Day After Tomorrow screaming at a bunch of disbelieving congressmen." Plus, the tech conversation continues at the Wall Street Journal, where they're reporting that Twitter bars intelligence agencies from using its analytics service Dataminr, which claims to spot unfolding terror acts. "Headscratcher: Dataminr sells the Twitter 'firehose' to co's. But Twitter barred it from selling to intel agcies?!" wonders WSJ's senior deputy tech editor Scott Thurm. "I'd be a lot more sympathetic to Inglis whining that IC not able to get Twitter alerts if IC didn't gag Twitter," argues independent journo Marcy Wheeler. Meanwhile, Bloomberg calls Zenefits "the perfect startup" before it self-disrupted. Moreover, the Panama Papers have yielded yet more treasures, as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists publishes a database listing thousands of secret offshore companies, spawned in jurisdictions that range from Nevada to Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands.

Going back to politics, North Carolina's governor is suing the Justice Department for saying the state had violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it passed its law regulating which bathrooms transgender people may use. "Seems like a great use of taxpayer dollars," shrugs Boston Globe's Alex Kingsbury. Meanwhile, Politico shines a light on Trump's empty administration: "Trump says he'd get the BEST people in his White House. But they don't want in, per @dsamuelsohn& @morningmoneyben," explains colleague Ben Weyl. And then there's the police report just filed by journalist Julia Ioffe after receiving death threats for her Melania Trump profile. "Trump supporters sent @juliaioffe so much insane anti-Semitic crap that she filed a police report," explains WaPo's Mike Madden. At the same time, Ted Cruz backers are vying to control the convention platform in June. "Still could be plenty of drama in Cleveland. Cruz spoiling for a rules and platform fight," comments The Plain Dealer's Henry Gomez. Still, Speaker Paul Ryan claims he would step down as convention chair if Trump asks. "@SpeakerRyan in conflict w/many of his donors & maybe @MittRomney indy run to stop Trump," theorizes Bloomberg's Mark Halperin. Lastly, America is still smarting from the recession's enduring scars. "One in six U.S. workers lost a job in 2007-2009. Most will earn less for decades to come," reports Ben Leubsdorf.

About the author

Writes the @MuckRackDaily & runs #muckedup chat. Creator of #100helpfuldays. I can haz media tips?

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