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Getting All Your News From Facebook Is Like Eating Only Potato Chips, Flipboard CEO Says (recode.net) 139

In a wide-ranging interview, Mike McCue, CEO of news curator app Flipboard, talked about how -- and from where -- people get their news nowadays and how it shapes their worldview. From a report: McCue said getting all your news from either friends or algorithms is "challenging and semi-dangerous" because today's social platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, favor content that people engage with, driving "extremist" content to the top. Hence, he argues, the "fake news" epidemic, which McCue believes had an effect on the 2016 election. "Sometimes I think of news feeds as the 'mystery meat' of your information diet," he said. "It's not like you finish reading your Facebook feed, after half an hour, and feel like, 'That was a great use of time!' It's like if you ate potato chips all day long."
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Getting All Your News From Facebook Is Like Eating Only Potato Chips, Flipboard CEO Says

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  • Incorrect (Score:2, Informative)

    by easyTree ( 1042254 )

    Potatoes have nutritional value.

  • by HaaPoo ( 696098 ) on Monday February 13, 2017 @02:43PM (#53858285)
    i cannot find the like button on this story.
  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Monday February 13, 2017 @02:44PM (#53858301)

    "News curator app"?

    No.

    News aggregator. And the person doing the work is not a "news curator", he/she is what's known as an "editor" - the thing that people complain Slashdot does not have. Or maybe Slashdot has "story curators", and since they don't exist, stories don't get "curated" at Slashdot...

    The "curator" business is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

    • Honestly, I wish there were good news curation. It might be a way to get people to pay for news again, but at the very least, it'd be my preferred way of staying up to date. Basically have someone really read a lot of news everyday from all kinds of different sources, and then put together a sort of meta-newpaper of the most important stories of the day.

      Right now, I have a few different news aggregators that just seem to haphazardly pull whatever stories from whatever sources in an automated and somewhat

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday February 13, 2017 @04:36PM (#53859545) Homepage Journal

      Well, "necessary", "sufficient", and "useful" are all distinct concepts.

      In the heyday of the print newspaper, editorial functions included a kind of curation: assigning reporters to stories or "beats [wikipedia.org]", and choosing the mix stories that make up the day's edition.

      Clearly, curatorial work is useful -- both in service of the truth and in the service of falsehood. And because it can be used both ways, it is clearly not sufficient for obtaining the truth. However curation (at the very least by you) of your information sources is probably necessary.

      The goal of curating your information sources shouldn't be a capital T Truth, it should be to be informed. That means having enough of the Truth from enough different sources to be able to make better decisions. If you find yourself too much in agreement with the opinions of the news sources you trust, you aren't getting enough information to think for yourself. Nobody who thinks for himself can ever be entirely comfortable with the opinions of others.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      >The "curator" business is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

      It's just an extension of trying to make things sound more upscale to justify higher prices.
      Do you make these thingamajigs?
      What? No. We craft this product.

  • Hmm. I get all my news from news.google.com. I wonder if that's just as bad?
    • by bulled ( 956533 )
      It is, google tailors what stories percolate to the top and what sources it highlights based on what it knows about you. It is the same informational echo chamber as a Facebook feed.
      • So use news.google.com without being logged in and with cookies deleted. Everyone uses the firefox self-destructing cookies plugin right?
  • Well duh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Monday February 13, 2017 @02:49PM (#53858369)

    News aggregation (including Flipboard, nice slashvertisemnet) will always show what it thinks people want to see. And as much as people "want" to be challenged when asked, in reality, it's mentally exhausting and they don't. Therefore, all new aggregation will trend towards echo chamber status. The only defense against echo chambers is actively trying to break out, and that's a difficult task.

    • I really wish Facebook would tailor what it shows me to match my preferences.

      What I want is actual news, devoid of any sport crap, "celebrity" gossip, and shrieking partisan political screeds right left and/or center.

      I block every sports story of any kind, every "celebrity" gossip story of any kind, and any and all postings of any kind that even mention Trump.

      My Facebook feed is still flooded with all this crap. Where's this "tailoring your feed to match your preferences" thing hiding? I see no sign of it

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Plus you can choose to follow any number of news outlets from different countries each with their different spin on things. Your Facebook feed doesn't have to be a monoculture bubble.

        You can see the same stories from different angles.

        • I really don't want news on Facebook. Any. At all. "This ... is wrong tool. Never use this." I get my news elsewhere, generally starting with news.google.com. (Yeah... When I wrote "What I want is actual news, devoid of any sport crap, "celebrity" gossip, and shrieking partisan political screeds right left and/or center", I meant what I want from a news source, not what I want from news on Facebook, which is "none".)
    • Well, sort of. The problem is that facebook (et al) is not a news aggregator, it is an advertising and publicity company paid to keep people on the app and revealing information about themselves that allows them to be put in easily exploited marketing groups. It is a meme-generation machine for rent. Why is it any surprise that the constant attempt to hack people's judgement and social interactions to trick them into wanting the latest crappy crap leads to collateral damage to their social and mental hea
    • I'm beginning to think the best way to get news is to read your local newspaper.

  • Am I the only one? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Monday February 13, 2017 @02:51PM (#53858383) Homepage
    I don't have FaceTwit. Are there any others?

    It is possible to get news from multiple sources. BBC. Jerusalem Post. Al Jazeera. RT. And others.

    But aren't they all biased? Yes, they are. Just like CNN, MSNBC or FoxNews.

    Are we grown up enough to read through the bias if presented with multiple points of view?

    That remains to be seen.

    Maybe that is like eating more than just potato chips? But I still like chips, even though I don't have FaceTwit.
    • I don't have FaceTwit. Are there any others?

      Plenty. I've never had a FaceBook account (or Twitter) and have no plans to change that. I don't trust the company and it quite plainly has limited utility for me personally. Not judging if you get a lot out of it but it's just not for me. My wife feels the same way. Probably about 2/3 of my family uses FaceBook at least occasionally and about 1/3 of us can't be bothered.

    • by skam240 ( 789197 )

      I don't use facebook or twitter either but I'm surprised to see RT on your list of news sources. I like getting news from varied sources myself but I've tried RT for a bit and I just feel like I'm consuming the propaganda branch of the Russian government. When reading it I feel like I might as well be reading a nationalist Chinese news source as well.

      In other words, sure all news sources have some sort of bias but they should at least try to be objective.

      • RT is only propaganda. It's not going to burn your eyes. But FoxNews is also propaganda, often factually wrong on matters of fact not opinion. When I see either one I know what I'm looking at. Consider the source. Also consider the questions asked. And the questions NOT asked. American media said not a peep about SOPA until the day big internet sites went dark. When Snowden news broke in 2013, CNN covered it in an extremely one-sided way as if there could be no other point of view. Naturally foreig
        • by skam240 ( 789197 )

          Of course RT isnt going to burn my eyes but it's basically worthless as far as news goes unless you just want to find out what the Russian government wants people to think. Sure you can point to Snowden and other events that were poorly handled by US media but overall they are most certainly willing to question the government on quite a few issues.

          I tried to find even one article on RT's site critical of their actions in Crimea. All I found was lies and misdirection like this https://www.rt.com/op-edge/268. [rt.com]

      • by Zemran ( 3101 )
        To gain an idea of the truth, it lies between the lies that the two sides tell. You need to read the lies of both sides and think about what lies in between. RT is no worse than CNN it is just the other pole. Al Jazeera used to be good at providing the opinions of both sides until the US government started firing cruise missiles at them and throwing their reporters in Guantanamo. Now even they only tell the US lies. Russia Today is also worth following as is Press TV (Iranian). The problem I have is tha
        • by skam240 ( 789197 )

          CNN is not nearly as bad as RT. I did a search on the RT news sight to see if I could find a single article questioning Russian annexation of Crimea after I posted the above. Not only could I not find one I read through a great piece on whether the Brits views on their actions in Ukraine are based on "misunderstanding or distortion"

          https://www.rt.com/op-edge/268... [rt.com]

          I've never read a piece on CNN as blatently full lies and misdirection. It's well written though, read it without your critical thinking cap on a

    • No social media use here either... (/. shouldn't count since we're somewhat antisocial.)

      Yes, it's quite possible to view several news sources and form a fairly unbiased opinion of what has actually occurred... the difficulty seems to be the prior belief set trap. It is pretty easy to scroll through multiple sources until you locate one that agrees with a rigidly held worldview.

      Open-mindedness is the constant ability to believe you can be mistaken.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nope. I've never had a FB account and never plan to. There is no reason to. If I did it would be for the sole purpose of keeping track of extended family. It certainly would not be for news.

      I find it amazing the so many people are stupid enough to get their news from FB. Its sad. Its the biggest 'group think' feeder on could possibly imagine.

      • by dagarath ( 33684 )

        I have one, I'd like to use it for keeping track of extended family / friends. But, more and more it's just advertising BS.. i deliberately delete news stories from my feed... the 'social' in media is losing.. it's just becoming another media outlet.

        • This! 100%.
          When I drove truck FB came into existence. It was a great and convenient way to connect with family and friends for an hour or so before hitting the hay.
          When I had to quit driving it was useful for keeping in touch with friends I had made across the country.
          Now I painfully log in about once every few months just to say "I'm not dead." Most everyone seems to re-post the meme of the week, crackpot conspiracy theories, chain mails and partisan lies in all stripes.
          If I log in, I want to know about YO
    • Are we grown up enough to read through the bias if presented with multiple points of view?

      N = B (n) + A(n) + R (n)
      Solve for n. B, A are R vary depending on n.

      This represents 84% of the total marks.

    • No. I use RSS feeds into live bookmarks [mozilla.org] straight to my browser's bookmark toolbar. I have done this for years, it's a wonderful technology you can use with virtually all news sites, and you can then easily pick and choose the articles you want from updated drop down folders on your toolbar.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Thats a nice list of liberal news outlets.

    • It is possible to get news from multiple sources. BBC. Jerusalem Post. Al Jazeera. RT. And others.

      But aren't they all biased? Yes, they are. Just like CNN, MSNBC or FoxNews.

      Well CNN, MSNBC and Fox News are (apart from their biases) pretty light-weight, sensationalized sources of news. (And really, MSNBC and Fox News are the ones that are unapologetically biased).

      BBC is good, Al Jazeera can be good, though I've seen some sesationalized stuff from them as well. RT is just Russia's propaganda network. U

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I don't have FaceTwit. Are there any others?

      It is possible to get news from multiple sources. BBC. Jerusalem Post. Al Jazeera. RT. And others.

      Why are you throwing in the BBC and Al Jazeera with RT. These publications are nothing alike.

      I can only assume you haven't read them.

      But aren't they all biased? Yes, they are. Just like CNN, MSNBC or FoxNews.

      Now I know you haven't read them.

      Organisations like the BBC and Al Jazeera separate opinion from fact and write factual articles as not to let bias interfere. They present, as best they can, an entirely factual report for which the reader can make their own inferences from. Opinion columns are clearly marked and separated from news and when an error is published, they wi

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday February 13, 2017 @02:58PM (#53858483)

    You could say the same thing about any single news source. My father-in-law gets all his news from the paper version of the wall street journal and whatever nonsense the local evening news is spouting off that day plus a bit of Rush Limbaugh. Needless to say he has a rather narrow and unhealthy world view because he never hears any ideas that contradict what he already believes. Getting your news from a single source or even a narrow group of sources is almost certain to result is a very weird view of how the world should work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geek ( 5680 )

      You could say the same thing about any single news source. My father-in-law gets all his news from the paper version of the wall street journal and whatever nonsense the local evening news is spouting off that day plus a bit of Rush Limbaugh. Needless to say he has a rather narrow and unhealthy world view because he never hears any ideas that contradict what he already believes. Getting your news from a single source or even a narrow group of sources is almost certain to result is a very weird view of how the world should work.

      But what if your belief is right and the others are wrong? What do you gain from listening to stupidity? I have no use for CNN for example. I actually liked CNN back in the 90's, they were still a tad bit biased but they at least had some journalistic integrity. Today? None, zero, ziltch.

      I have 4 or 5 news sites bookmarked that I visit on a regular basis. I trust them. I don't always agree with them but I trust they are not intentionally lying to me. Why would I go outside of that?

      • by adolf ( 21054 )

        All of the TV news channels stopped doing news and started being a death-reel on 9/11/2001. And they never recovered because that was also the same time that they universally adopted "the crawler" as an excuse for presenting news on one more than one topic per day. The original programming that came after the horrors died down and ratings faltered followed the path of so many others like (first and foremost) MTV and Discovery and History, with pre-recorded reality TV interspersed with live talking heads s

      • But what if your belief is right and the others are wrong?

        That's as often a matter of opinion as it is of fact. And just because you are factually correct doesn't mean others cannot run roughshod over you anyway. Religions are inherently based in beliefs with no basis in reality and yet they often dominate government policy.

        What do you gain from listening to stupidity?

        You learn what others are thinking so it doesn't catch you by surprise. Bad things happen when you underestimate how effective stupidity can be when employed strategically. Dumb people in a large group are dangerous even when they are wrong

        • But what if your belief is right and the others are wrong?

          That's as often a matter of opinion as it is of fact.

          Some beliefs are correct, some beliefs are false, and some cannot be proven in either direction. But there are no facts which are a matter of opinion, and a belief is false if it doesn't match the facts. That, of course, doesn't stop people from believing in it.

          • Some beliefs are correct, some beliefs are false, and some cannot be proven in either direction. But there are no facts which are a matter of opinion, and a belief is false if it doesn't match the facts. That, of course, doesn't stop people from believing in it.

            That's exactly my point. It doesn't always matter if you are factually correct. Ignorance and stupidity can be weaponized rather easily. Our recent election is a great example of that from any number of angles (pick your favorite) but it's clear that many people mistakenly think facts are actually opinions. You still need to understand what others think even if it makes no sense at all. Stupid, ill-informed people still get to vote and if you don't want them to rule your life you had better be paying

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You could say the same thing about any single news source. My father-in-law gets all his news from the paper version of the wall street journal and whatever nonsense the local evening news is spouting off that day plus a bit of Rush Limbaugh. Needless to say he has a rather narrow and unhealthy world view because he never hears any ideas that contradict what he already believes. Getting your news from a single source or even a narrow group of sources is almost certain to result is a very weird view of how the world should work.

      I suppose if your view exposure is so much more diverse, then you at least understand the reasoning behind his 'narrow' views. Or maybe you just dismiss them because you aren't so much different.

    • by Kergan ( 780543 )

      Then again, why should anyone waste their time reading "news" written by crack pots in the name of, what again?

      Personally speaking I've little interest in reading the sewers that your father is reading (no offense) in the name of trying to comprehend their worldview, beyond an article here and there to get a feel of how below the belt they stand.

      IMO the real issue is the American (and increasingly European) belief that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, which is all too often understood as meaning t

    • The whole single source, multiple source debate misses the point. If you are getting your news from professional outlet(s) your news is coming from the same billionaire no matter how many publications you subscribe to. CNN does have have a different bias and a different angle than HBO, it has the same bias because it is controlled by the same person. There are less than 10 cooperators that together control all news you ever read in a paper, watch on TV, or browse online. And they are not distinguishable. Th

  • Facebook and Twitter are echo chambers, no doubt about that. But did those echos really change anyone's vote? I doubt it. People who liked or disliked one candidate read stories that reinforced their opinion.

    Clinton lost because she was anointed by the DNC rather than being selected by the voters. There was no enthusiasm for her, not in the primaries, not in the general election. I haven't heard of anyone who started out intending to vote for Hillary, then changed their mind after reading Facebook.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by geek ( 5680 )

      Facebook and Twitter are echo chambers, no doubt about that. But did those echos really change anyone's vote? I doubt it.

      They did but not the way people think. I know a large number of people who voted for Trump because the media were so dead set on making him the villain. The media coverage was so over the top that people finally saw through it and said "fuck you." It's only gotten worse since the election too with cooks in CA saying they want to secede from the union and fat chicks with blue hair wearing vagina costumes started marching in DC calling everyone nazi's.

      The more Facebook and Twitter try to claim they are the vo

    • People vastly overestimate the power of the DNC (and RNC) in choosing candidates. The DNC sets the rules and schedule, and arranges the debates, but the rules (who has a primary, who has a caucus, etc) were all determined long before either Clinton or Sanders jumped in. People complain that the DNC favored Clinton, but I've yet to see anything that influenced anything even remotely substantial. Again, though, that's missing the greater point.

      What you're missing is this - Money. Money is what allows candid
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The DNC worked with CNN to get Clinton the debate questions before the debates.
        The DNC strong armed lower ticket races to give all their money to Clinton during the primary. (Borderline FEC fraud, but just within the letter of the law as passed by the DNC congress a few years earlier. But outright fraud if you attempt to look at it in any "fair and reasonable" way.)
        The DNC worked with various news outlets to time bad stories for Sanders that would hurt him in primaries.

        Did you not pay attention at ALL?
        Perh

      • by tomhath ( 637240 )

        Hillary still beat him by every real measure, in both votes and delegates.

        Without the super-delegates it would have been a contest with more contestants. It was very clear from the beginning who the party insiders were going to have as their candidate.

  • Cheetos!

    And 'Flipboard'? Who the hell are they?

    • by sirber ( 891722 )

      Cheetos!

      And 'Flipboard'? Who the hell are they?

      The bundeled app you get with a new android phone

  • No, I think it's more like bread [wikipedia.org] myself.

  • "Getting Anything From Facebook Is Like a Raging, Dripping, Burning STD, Flipboard CEO Says"

    TFTFY
  • All news aggregators/repackagers have this problem, Flipboard is no different. Their only value to me (was a long term user, dropped them about a year ago) was in repackaging the news into a format more easily consumed on the tablet/phone. Once they started shelling out to the browser for something like half of all articles in the service they became useless and irrelevant. This statement is an example of a dying company trying to prove their relevance.
  • Says manufacturer of chocolate bars.

  • Not that I disagree with his assessment, but Flipboard has a vested interest in consolidating news from multiple sources which means it is in his own best interests to preach this line of thinking. If only as a reminder to think critically we need to remember where his own personal bias comes from.
  • ... hop over to /pol/ to maintain my objectivity and balance.

  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Monday February 13, 2017 @03:53PM (#53859085) Homepage Journal

    Who the hell is getting any of their news from Facebook? It doesn't even offer news as a service.

    • Remember they are not a media/news company? wasn't that about 6 months to a year ago?
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Who the hell is getting any of their news from Facebook? It doesn't even offer news as a service.

      Maybe you've seen the "Trending" column.

      Although that tends to reference a source, often the source is untrustworthy like Fox News or the Daily Mail.

      However the real problem is fake news, often presented on a blog with little or no supporting evidence, being posted and shared (I.E. going viral).

      Although I consider news from FB to be inherently untrustworthy, I still get some news from there. Mostly about minor interests that my friends have (I.E. gaming, motor industry, so on and so forth).

  • The American news system model today is more schoolyard playground gossip than journalism. Perfect for breeding fake news and injecting it into the main news stream through social media, like twitter. Even Fox News has been fooled into broadcasting fake news. Of course, for them it's hard to tell anyway what is truth or lies any idiot should be able to see. O'Really? and InsHannity do such a fine job blending truth and lies that anybody that watches that shit deserves all the fucking their government dishes

    • by dagarath ( 33684 )

      Very few real journalists in the world today.. we traded them in for blogs and twitter feeds. The classic line, 'a$ did not respond immediately' which means they spent no time researching a story before plopping it out on the world.

  • by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Monday February 13, 2017 @04:14PM (#53859287)
    I'm conservative...have been all my life, but, I do not watch Fox News Channel...99% of it is just opinion driven, as is MSNBC, CNN et al. I get my news from various places & websites, INCLUDING some extremely liberal sites. I find some of the best sources for news for where I live, the USA, come from OUTSIDE my country. Some of the Asian, European & Russian sites, along with Australia & Japan, can offer a different opinion/spin/story than inside the USA. I like to form my own opinion, based on my belief system, but I will listen to a different opinion, just to see if there might be something of interest. The problem is, on BOTH sides of the political isle, the "rabid" types want to shut you down, if you differ from them, regardless if it is a left or right issue.
  • His entire quote is more accurate, but I'd say it's not like eating only potato chips... it's letting people choose what you eat, whether it's poisonous shit or a nice steak. A tip though, nowadays it's looking more and more like only shit.

    On the other hand, Flipboard is not all that different if you are looking at their curation alone. I'd say it's extremely stupid to follow news on Facebook, but if people are doing it anyways, the important part is not where you get your news from, but whether you check f

  • is ALSO like eating potato chips. Heck, getting all your news from your own country's news outlets, even when that news is about your own country, severely limits your 'nutritional balance' among viewpoints and facts presented. Even if paying attention to news sources in other countries only increases the number of echo chambers you tap into, it still adds diversity that would otherwise be missing.

  • Let's compare the TV - it's a medium to get different channels, where some channels feature one news station that can be pretty biased.

    FB is a medium where you subscribe to whichever news outlet you prefer. It's like adding an RSS feed for each news site you like.

    They're pretty similar, they are both full of shit, and they both feature biased content every now and then and allow you to choose what to watch. They both also have paid advertisers showing you what they want to show you. So if anything, both of

  • It costs money to report the news so subscribe to some national paper so that they can put out and check their news.

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