The news explained in rich detail about the personal life of a Bollywood actress and the news of her yet another affair with a famous director. Accompanying the news was her scantily dressed picture that left very little to the imagination.
Read the above thread in Part II of the Story.
Facebook analysing our interests and customising our news-feed is an ancient fact now. Every one of us knows it. But what is not much knows is its second-order effects. And how adversely Facebook is impacting our behavior, our sub-conscious thinking.
In India it doesn’t matter if you have any interest in politics are not, you’ll have a view on Narendra Modi — the current prime minister of India. Through his radical decision making (and in some cases, not), he has divided the country into two distinct groups — those who support him, and those who don’t. Even people who never follow politics will have a strong point of view when it comes to Narendra Modi.
And Facebook through its analytics, is ensuring that the gulf widens even more. I found out this when I saw the Facebook feed of two people who are very active in sharing news about him. One of my uncles, while making a point of view on how well the PM was doing showed me his Facebook feed filled with the stories singing praises of the Prime Minister. To validate this I checked the feed of one of my other filled, and the story here was completely opposite. His entire feed shouted the negative impact of the current leadership.
But I am sure, if I checked the news from both the feeds, half of them must be fake news, driven by propaganda, rather than objective reporting.
The human mind can handle only so many things at one time. It has a limited attention power. We can’t assess every piece of news every time. Our conscious mind can handle four to seven things simultaneously, the rest is relegated to the sub-consciousness. And our sub-consciousness is a pattern-seeking engine evolved through eons of evolution period. It makes snap judgments, more often without us even knowing.
The Cambridge Analytica case illustrates this point where, allegedly, the Facebook feed was used to swing the voting behavior of the US Population. And Facebook, through its single laser-like focus on keeping us on its website, (it is its incentive) is messing up our sub-consciousness — big time.
The News Content Platform — Medium vs Facebook
No market can be a completely free market unless it deals only with commodities where the quality points are etched in stone. Otherwise, we need a regulatory agency which polices the quality and delivery of the products. And Facebook News Market is like this — without proper regulation and perverse incentives its effort to create a powerful Facebook Journalism into a low-standard Fakebook Journalism.
And I think that’s the key differentiator that any News Content Platform should focus on in creating a better News Platform than Facebook.
Is Medium the one? I don’t know yet. But what I can see is that Medium doesn’t have the incentives which Facebook has and depends on for its revenue. It’s not dependent on the advertising the way Facebook has. Its structure is different, more relevant than Facebook to become the online platform this world needs.
Facebook, because of its inherent structure, is (and will continue to) find it difficult to do so. For the simple reason of cross-incentives between what it’s trying to achieve and how it’s structured. And until then this conflict is resolved, it will not be able to establish itself as a successful news platform which it’s so badly trying to create.
Start Reading from the first part of the story HERE.
Also published on Medium.