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Big Revolution - Side effects to a welcome move

Welcome to Wednesday's Big Revolution. It's shaping up to be a busy few months ahead for me, but I'm
September 19 · Issue #206 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Wednesday’s Big Revolution. It’s shaping up to be a busy few months ahead for me, but I’m committed to bringing you this newsletter every day. If I ever have to pause, I’ll feel like I’ve lost a bet against myself. But if that happens, rest assured I’ll let you know why.

Big things you need to know today
  • Facebook makes it easy for job advertisers to only target men. A ProPublica investigation found that Uber and other companies had done exactly that. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed discrimination charges against Facebook and others with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 
  • Google’s AMP project is becoming more of a community initiative. Fast-loading Accelerated Mobile Pages have changed the face of news on mobile devices, but they’ve faced criticism, as until now the standard was entirely controlled by Google. With open governance, this will change.
  • YouTube is closing its dedicated gaming app. “While gaming remains one of YouTube’s top verticals, no one was really using the standalone… app,” TechCrunch reports.
The big thought
Credit: Benjamin Dada on Unsplash
Twitter’s welcome move will have side effects
Yesterday’s news that Twitter is bringing back the chronological timeline left me wondering what effect it will have on the way people use the service.
The algorithmic timeline is a few years old now, and there’s no doubt it influences users’ impressions of the service. By displaying a popular tweet 23 hours after it was published, it encourages users to extend its lifespan. So, tweets that go viral can go really viral. It’s possible to see the same tweet pop up again and again for days, as more casual users log on and share it when they see it for the first time.
So, while some of those who love to see fresh content in their feeds may cheer the return of chronological, they may also miss getting quite so many retweets and likes on their own output.
And there’s a knock-on effect. You don’t have to look far to find harassment and abuse on Twitter, but the algorithmic timeline amplifies the sense that the platform is full of it. Tweets in which people talk about harassment they have suffered or others have suffered often go viral, and reach a much bigger audience thanks to the algorithm identifying them as ‘popular’ tweets.
So, if you choose to just see the latest tweets, Twitter may seem less rife with harassment – and a less depressing place – because you’ll see fewer tweets talking about it.
The risk is, if those stories of harassment get less of an audience, the pressure on Twitter to resolve the problem once and for all might be reduced. On the other side of the same coin, you could say that by seeing their activity discussed less, harassers may feel they’re making less of an impact and be less inclined to continue.
Whatever happens, making it easy for all users to view only the latest tweets in the order they were posted is about way more than just avoiding inspirational tripe from fake billionaires.
One big read
iPhone XS review: the XS and XS Max are solid updates to a winning formula iPhone XS review: the XS and XS Max are solid updates to a winning formula
All the big iPhone XS reviews came out yesterday, The Verge is a good one to pick out. Summary: not an exciting upgrade for some, many may prefer to wait for the XR next month, but still a very good device even if the excellent camera is surpassed by last year’s Google Pixel 2.
One big tweet
If you don’t know what this tweet is about, I implore you not to find out. Seriously, you’re better off not knowing.
Ethan Zuckerman
I hereby propose "toad" as the word that means "A topic trending on Twitter and I want to look it up and find out what the conversation is all about, but oh no, I really didn't want to learn that." Usage: "I'm going to be good to myself and ignore that toad on trending topics."
5:10 PM - 18 Sep 2018
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow for more Big Revolution. Thanks to everyone who shares this newsletter with friends and colleagues. If you like it, do the same and encourage them to subscribe. Here’s the link to share.
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