Facebook’s Widely Viewed Content Report No Longer Looks Like the Worst of the Web wsj.com

Earlier this week, Facebook released its most recent Widely Viewed Content Report, for which it still does not create unique permalinks. There is a copy on the Internet Archive for, you know, archival purposes. The Widely Viewed Links section of the report is notable for being full of celebrity gossip but, unlike previous reports, none of them were associated with scams or were removed for violating the company’s policies.

Jeff Horwitz, Wall Street Journal:

Over several months, members of Meta’s product, user-experience and integrity teams hammered out better definitions for low-quality content and agreed on ways the company could avoid amplifying it, according to the documents and people.


As part of its efforts in the new “Content Quality War Room,” the company sought to better identify what made users feel a post was trashy. The effort homed in on finding ways to measure “un-aesthetic attributes, unoriginality, low integrity, and ‘low-calorie’ content,” as one director later wrote.

While the headline on Horwitz’s article is “Facebook’s Most Popular Posts Were Trash. Here Is How It Cleaned Up.”, I would avoid drawing any specific conclusions from this single report. This is a three-month slice of, according to Facebook, 0.05% of U.S. News Feed posts. And the most viewed posts on the website are still pretty lightweight, too. This is not a collection of the finest investigative reporting or original video projects. But it is noticeably better than it used to be.

Also, please stop calling parts of your office the “war room” unless you are actually at war. The teams responsible for this are trying to make sure their platform is not amplifying Minion memes, not sending people into battle. Relax.