Why Facebook’s Dual Newsfeed Is Absolutely Necessary


This week, Facebook announced tests of a dual newsfeed system in which friends and family posts will occupy a primary feed while publishers’ posts will occupy a second.

Publishers worldwide shit themselves into oblivion at the prospect of losing an estimated 60%–80% in referral traffic, and a fatal dart was cast into the heart of the already gasping old media.

It’s unclear if the 60%-80% decline stat is taken from the post-learning curve phase, so take those numbers with a grain of organic pink Himalayan salt. It will take time for people to adjust, and frankly, I’m kind of keen on the idea of having the option to elude the stupid shit my friends try to pass off as poetic commentary on their personal feeds.

As a freelance writer, I should be mortified. I’m really screwed if this becomes a permanent feature; however, I’m blinded by the silver lining.

Facebook Doesn’t Even Facebook

Illustration for the article “Wirtulane Odpoczywanie”.
Published in Press (Poland), nr9(241), September 2016.

Facebook is having a retroactive identity crisis. It’s coming to school everyday, trying to fit in a new clique and asking, “Is this outfit that’s inspired by something you wore last week cool enough for you to spend time with me?”

Instead of innovating and being a beacon of cool, the poser hipsters in Menlo Park are constantly seeking validation from a social culture that doesn’t quite understand what Facebook is anymore.

At one point, it seemed like a viable option for a gateway to the internet — a digital park with an unlimited abundance of connectivity and stimuli. But with this new feature, it feels more like a closed-circuit circle jerk.

It’s probably time to admit that what started out as a platform for people has become a platform for advertisers. Every decision Facebook makes is motivated by a desire to keep users on the platform longer, not for their benefit, but for the advertisers’.

Any Youtubers wanna chime in here?

The Cultural Quandary

The more practical silver lining in the dual news feed feature is that it will awaken us to our cultural values. We’ve never had a collective digital network poll before, and everyone with the wifi password is about to cast their vote.

By the end of this the Third World will reveal itself as one of two cultures:

1. A culture of complacency
2. A culture of curiosity
A conscious acknowledgement of this junction is absolutely necessary in order to assess our cultural identity.

If publishers’ ad revenues tank, we will know that people are complacent with their impenetrable groupthink. It’ll be evidence of why we’ll forever be stuck with a two-party political system and why the radio will never escape its vortex of suckitude.

However, if publishers’ ad revenues maintain (or even grow), we’ll know that people dream of the world beyond their periphery. It will be a declaration of curiosity outweighing convenience. It will be a push to dump social portals and revert back to the vintage practice of bookmarking and visiting websites. Ahhhh, nostalgia.

My money is on option #1. Our education system conditions us to accept information and regurgitate it. But it does not teach us to question or seek knowledge. RIP, Socratic Method.

Alas, once we know what kind of culture we are, the curious ones will be able to start asking why we’ve become complacent and how we’re going to fix it. Sorry, Zuck, but I think you should sit this one out.

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