Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Trending Stories Are Now Guided Programmatically, Obviously

Robinson Meyer of the Atlantic:

Facebook’s decision to simplify [Trending Stories] seemed like an attempt to wriggle out of editorial responsibility: What had been a messy human-led process would now become an algorithm-guided one. The company also laid off the 26 employees who had run the feature — 19 curators and seven copyeditors — with little warning on Friday, according to Quartz.

[…]

From Sunday evening to early Monday morning, Facebook allowed the topic “Megyn Kelly” to trend. Driving the trend was an article claiming that Kelly had been fired by Fox News for supporting Hillary Clinton. The story, hosted by endingthefed.com, was completely inaccurate: Kelly has not endorsed Clinton, and she has not been fired by Fox. Yet with the assistance of Facebook’s algorithmic editors, it garnered 200,000 likes.

Golly. Who could have predicted that?