A Facebook product director has kicked off a discussion of the problems with modern media.
Facebook product director Mike Hudack has generated a fiery debate about the state of modern media with a rant posted to his public page (embedded below).
Hudack's screed centered around a Vox.com article. Vox refuted a claim by Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh that freezing pairs of jeans is a more environmentally friendly way to clean your favorite piece of denim. He expressed his displeasures with "the state of the media" writing, "Evening newscasts are jokes, and copycat television newsmagazines have turned into tabloids — "OK" rather than Time."
In addition to traditional press, he also took online journalism to task.
"And so we turn to the Internet for our salvation," he wrote. "Listicles of the "28 young couples you know" replace the kidnapped white girl. Same thing, different demographics."
Vox writer Matt Yglesias wrote a rebuttal, laying much of the blame on Facebook.
"If Facebook executives don't like a world in which those are the kind of stories people read, they should do something about it. Until then, we in the media are going to keep doing what we've always done — try to publish a balanced mix of content that appeals to a range of people and sensibilities and hits different kinds of notes," Yglesias wrote.
Much of the debate in the comments of Hudack's post centered around Facebook's role in the media world and the algorithm that powers its Newsfeed. Media outlets and marketers have both been forced to adjust to changes in how Facebook decides what ends up appearing to users.
Facebook occupies an important place in online journalism, sending significant amounts of traffic to some sites. BuzzFeed, one of the outlets Hudack mentions, has particularly benefitted by Facebook traffic. (Mashable also receives a considerable amount of traffic from Facebook referrals.)
Other Facebook employees also chimed in, adding that the site's own trending topics tended to end up discussing entertainment.
Facebook has also made some slow but deliberate moves to enter the media space. It recently launched Paper, a newsreader that features content curated in part by editors hired by Facebook.
Journalists have also begun to find homes at Facebook. Dan Fletcher recently joined from Bloomberg as did Liz Heron, formerly of the Wall Street Journal.
Facebook's media ambitions go straight to the top. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in december that he wants Facebook to be "the best personalized newspaper in the world."
Check out the post below for the entire discussion.
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