Facebook made a big splash yesterday with a PR push to promote new tools that give users more control. The most notable of these was a News Feed filter bar
that will let you choose between the standard algorithmic feed, a chronological feed (previously available but increasingly difficult to find), and a feed of your manually-chosen favourite friends and Pages.
This is all good, useful stuff, but Facebook clearly didn’t want you to get the idea that it had suddenly conceded that its platform can be divisive and problematic for society.
Comms chief Nick Clegg published a Medium post
, yesterday that clocked in at just shy of 5,000 (five! thousand!) words. As this newsletter’s editor wrote in his own newsletter
earlier today: “when the length counter at the top of a Medium post says it will take you 21 minutes to read, you might start to wonder if the author wants you to read it all in the first place.”
While the tone of Clegg’s post, and of his interview with Casey Newton (linked above), seems a little more open to engaging with the issues than the often brash and arrogant approach we’ve seen in the past, the usual Facebook comms approach is still very much in action.
Clegg’s central argument seems to be that Facebook’s (very complex, too complicated to explain) algorithm reflects your interests, so if people put bad things into it then that’s society’s fault. I suspect that won’t wash with the company’s biggest critics.