As Facebook rolls out some new algorithms
relating to its main News Feed, there has been a lot of attention paid
to who might win and who might lose as the social network reshuffles its
ranking system for content. But the bigger picture behind all these
moves, as Mike Isaac notes in a piece at All Things Digital,
is that Facebook is asserting even more of its control over what users
see, as part of its goal to become a kind of digital newspaper.
This sounds like a laudable goal, especially for people who like
newspapers. But in doing this — as I’ve tried to point out before —
Facebook is in danger of running into the exact same kinds of problems that actual newspapers are wrestling with, both in terms of content and advertising.
...But beyond all of the jockeying for position when it comes to who gets
favored by Facebook and who doesn’t, the motivation behind the latest
moves is clear — it wants to show users what it thinks is “high quality”
content, instead of the stuff that users have actually said they want
to see, by voting on it with their clicks. This is the same kind of
gatekeeper mentality that newspapers have been addicted to since they
used to own the information channel.