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Letter sent on Aug 31, 2016

3 to read: The media masters of Facebook (whom you’ve never heard of) | Gawker postmortems | 98 things Facebook knows about you

By Matt Carroll <@MattatMIT>

This week: You’ve never heard of the people who are the best at using Facebook to get their political message in front of you; The last Gawker post-mortems (Iswear); Facebook knows a lot more about you than you thought.

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  1. The masters of Facebook’s political-media machine (whom you’ve never heard of): A fascinating peek at a thriving subculture of sites that are doing extremely well at getting their political messages in front of you. These are the real masters of Facebook. And you have no idea who they are. From the NYT mag’s John Herrman, and with a cool hedline too: “Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine.”
  2. Two interesting Gawker postmortems: Never mind Peter Thiel. Gawker killed itself. “Gawker has inspired plenty of laudatory eulogies, which is interesting, since it primarily traded in muck.” A blistering takedown of the site by Simon Dumenco of AdvertisingAge. And Some questions for those who are cheering Gawker’s demise: Hard, sobering questions about what this means for newsrooms in the future, like: Who’s next? An ugly legal chapter may be opening up against the news industry. By Trevor Timm for Freedom of the Press Foundation.
  3. Facebook knows *what* about me?: Everyone knows that Facebook knows a lot about its users. But here are some specifics — 98 data points (sometimes wrong) that Facebook knows about you and uses for ad targeting. Alls I can say is: Yikes. Great story by the WaPo’s Caitlin Dewey.

Matt Carroll runs the Future of News initiative at the MIT Media Lab.

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