…s product decisions have an enormous impact on user behavior, which creates the data they “follow.” When scientists “follow the data,” they put a ton of effort into controlling for the impact their presence has on the data they collect. Facebook doesn’t. It is essentially a giant, global, uncontrolled experiment run by people who seem uninterested in even understanding what they’re really doing.
Put together, these two developments have made building an audience on Facebook much harder. A few years ago, a good insurgent could grow by inventing a tactic that allowed them to play a different game than everyone else for a while. Upworthy’s (in)famous “curiosity gap” headlines were an example of this. For a time, the algorithm treated them so differently than everything else that you would often see the Upworthy version of a story right next to a traditional publisher’s version in your newsfeed.