Tags: facebook | social media | news | readers

NY Times: 30 Percent Turning to Facebook for Latest News

By    |   Monday, 27 October 2014 07:03 AM

About a third of U.S. adults get their news from Facebook, giving the social media giant enormous power to influence what people read and whether news sites succeed or fail, The New York Times reported.

Some 30 percent of U.S. readers get to news sites via Facebook. Instead of editors judging what is newsworthy, computers now vet news based on mathematical formulas or algorithms that predict what users probably want to read.

Experts worry this helps people filter out coverage they disagree with, leaving them more narrow-minded and fueling their susceptibility to conspiracy theories, the Times reported.

"We try to explicitly view ourselves as not editors," said Greg Marra, 26, whose team writes the code that drives Facebook's News Feed. "We don't want to have editorial judgment over the content that's in your feed. You've made your friends, you've connected to the pages that you want to connect to and you're the best decider for the things that you care about," the Times reported.

Thanks to Facebook's influential algorithms, people are encouraged to read about subjects the engineers calculate they are interested in, rather than a broader menu of topics provided by traditional newspapers. Facebook updates these calculations regularly based thousands of factors, among them the number of comments and likes a story gets.

Some 1.3 billion people worldwide log on to Facebook at least once a month.

Scores of publications have met with Facebook company managers to talk about how to perk up their referral traffic. Figuring out what Facebook wants can boost readership and advertising revenues.

Google News, Twitter, and LinkedIn also influence how much attention a story gets and how much traffic is driven to news sites, but Facebook is the most influential social media site, according to the Times.

BuzzFeed's top editor Ben Smith said that to pick up Facebook readers, sites like his should avoid covering stories that are not timely or not the most interesting, the Times reported.

The Washington Post is working on tailoring how articles are written depending on how readers might come to them and on which device.

"People reading the Post on a mobile phone during the day will probably want a different kind of reading experience than those who are on a Wi-Fi connection at home in the evening," said Cory Haik, the Post's digital editor, according to the Times.

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About a third of U.S. adults get their news from Facebook, giving the social media giant enormous power to influence what people read and whether news sites succeed or fail, The New York Times reported.
facebook, social media, news, readers
391
2014-03-27
Monday, 27 October 2014 07:03 AM
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