Mark Zuckerberg says one goal of news feed is opinion diversity
‘People naturally seek out things that fit their preferences. News Feed encourages greater diversity by also showing opinions from your friends and people you may disagree with’ – Mark Zuckerberg
In late August Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said something absolutely no one believed: that Facebook was not a media company. “No, we are a tech company, not a media company,” said Zuckerberg while in Rome.
But today Zuckerberg celebrated the 10th anniversary of the News Feed by explaining that diversity of opinion is one of the goals of the feed.
“One of the things we’re really proud of at Facebook is that, whatever your political views, you probably have some friends who are in the other camp,” Zuckerberg wrote on his own Facebook page. “You probably have some friends who practice different religious (sic) — or who come from different countries. In Europe, for example, the average person on Facebook has more than 50 friends from outside their own country.”
“I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make Facebook a place for all ideas. Some of what we’re up against is human nature — biases that existed long before the internet. But by giving people access to more information and helping promote diversity and a plurality of opinions, we can build stronger communities.”
Zuckerberg pointed to an American Press Institute report that said seven out of ten respondents said their own social media feeds contained a mix of opinions. But the Pew Research Center reported that news consumers were very much siloed especially those on the right: “Consistent conservatives are tightly clustered around a single news source, far more than any other group in the survey, with 47% citing Fox News as their main source for news about government and politics.”
The goal of opinion diversity is probably a good thing, but if it involves editing then it is a media activity – as is selling advertising, I might add.