I'm Not Sure Anything's Different This Time

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Changing The Facebook Conversation - Charlie Warzel

And what Haugen is doing here is articulating a very powerful point that many Facebook users still take for granted: What you see on Facebook is not organic presentation of information. It is the result of decisions made for you by the company’s software, which follows its leaders’ directives.

I'm not convinced that reverse-chronological timelines will save us. There's simply too much stuff out there for dumb feeds of data to be the answer everywhere. You may like them for your use cases, but an algorithm-free future just isn't in the cards.

I'm also confident that Facebook's issues are things that any social network of their scale would have to deal with. That does not mean that they get a pass because it's hard, though.

Also from Warzel:

Facebook’s leadership might have a negative effect on the world that amounts to evil, but Facebook is evil then in the way that all unregulated hyper-capitalist businesses are evil. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what’s in their hearts, it matters what their actions are doing to people. And it matters what we do in response. That response starts with a better, more focused conversation. I think that we’re a step closer today.

This resonates with me. Neither software design nor algorithms are not mystical things that are inherently good or bad, they're designed and pushed different directions by people like you and me. If Facebook can turn some knobs and get more pro-Facebook stories in your feed, then they can tweak it other ways as well, and those choices really, truly matter.