Facebook issues

There have been a couple of posts recently drawing attention to how much power Facebook has over what we see. It might not be obvious at first, but we don’t see everything all our friends post, and we don’t see everything in all of our groups either. We certainly don’t see all the posts from companies we like.

If Facebook becomes the main way we stay in touch with what’s happening, we’re very much at the mercy of Facebook’s algorithms. Given that you can buy your way into people’s feeds, that’s not a great outcome.

Here’s an article on saving the diverse, free web.

Amanda Palmer posted this and more to her Facebook page:

did you know that when i post a youtube clip, they’ll deliberately limit the reach because they want you to embed direct?

did you know that (or so it appears) if you pay to “boost” content, they’ll start punishing you by making your next posts underperform, so that you’ll be tempted to toss in more cash?

did you know that if you use the word “s4@R3″ (it means: to disseminate”) in your post, they’ll limit your content reach?

did you know how freaky it feels to be sitting here, composing this post, knowing that bookface is scanning it, and wondering how much to allow out, and how much to hold me back?

neil and i, and many other bloggers, have discussed this with more and more worry lately. we used to have blogs, on our websites. we’d link to them. people read them. LOTS of people read them. this was in the days before twitter, bookface, instagram, tumblr, etc. it was when you woke up in the morning and read people’s blogs and posted thoughtful comments and it felt like the internet was ripe with possibility and freedom.

it’s going away. even though we both have far larger fanbases than we did ten years ago, our blog readerships have been halved, quartered, more.

Sorry for the long quote, but I can’t link directly (of course!).

And Twitter? It can be good or bad. If your reading diet becomes 140 character chunks, then that’s bad, but if you use to discover something longer and more substantial, then that’s great. Like eating M&Ms vs a decent meal.

Facebook and Twitter aren’t inherently awful things, and neither are content aggregators like Apple News, Clipboard and so on. But blogs and real websites are important too, and worth seeking out. While it’s always tempting to dip into the flow of Twitter or Facebook, if we don’t read the longer pieces on blogs and websites, eventually people will stop writing them.