Facebook adds useful new Groups tools
Hold on to your hats, folks. I'm about to say nice things about Facebook.
For a couple of years now, the big action on Facebook hasn't been on Pages (unless you're willing to pay for reach), but in Groups. This is a mixed bag — a lot of toxicity can get hidden away in closed groups, and thus Facebook doesn't take nearly as much stick for it as it does for the public stuff…
So, both a good PR initiative and an anti-regulation move.
On the other hand, groups are genuinely useful as community engagement spaces, and these tools should make life for group admins significantly easier:
This one looks particularly handy:
To start, a new “Admin Assist” tool will help Facebook Group administrators better moderate posts by automatically declining posts that use certain keywords.
I'm intrigued by the possibilities that open up with Prompts, which are designed to encourage conversations with photos. It's merely productising an existing practice, but there's nothing wrong with that.
I've never been a fan of Facebook, but it is an inescapable part of our landscape for the time being — and these tools are thoughtful and look useful.
Google invests in anti-regulation lobbying
Look, I know everyone is terribly excited by Google throwing money at journalism, but frankly it's (a) peanuts for them, and (b) is so clearly as much about dodging regulation, and avoiding being seen as the bad guy like Facebook, that it's hard to get much enthusiasm for it.
Anyway, here's the news:
I'm uncomfortable with the way these investments tend to prop up the existing players rather than make it easier for smaller, more innovative media outlets to participate. As Peter Houston put it in this morning's Media Roundup:
We’re generally happy when the tech giants put money back into journalism, but… this new money is an extension of the existing news licensing program and the bit that’s problematic about that is that the money is restricted to 'select’ publishers. We’d still like to see a fix that works for everyone.
Have a thread by Emily Bell as a chaser:
If you're lucky enough to work for some of the companies that will benefit from this, then, well, take the money — but figure out how to use it in a way that will grow your audience, allowing you to be sustainable without charity from the big tech companies. Don't let them trap you in a cycle of dependence.
- An example of how to take this money ethically
- My concerns about the impact of accepting money from Google & Facebook.
Beware Platforms Bearing Gifts
This is just terrific analysis of the issues involved. Thanks to Mathew Ingram for the link.
Micro.blog hits 2.0
The other blog platform I use, micro.blog, just released a major update. It's a profoundly different product to Ghost, which I use to publish these very words you're reading now, which is why I find it useful for more passing thoughts, and casual shares.
Nice to see a diverse range of innovation in the blog platform/CMS space, which was in danger of becoming an effective WordPress monopoly.
- 🔥 Hot or Not shaped the social web as we know it: worth remembering that Facemash, Zuckerberg's pre-Facebook site, was pretty much a rip-off of this.
- 👨👨👧👦 The art of retention is community-building — some useful lessons here from outside journalism. We would do well to pay more attention to the engagement work being done outside our bubble.
- 📊 Using data journalism to find local stories — this is an interesting model for using code to find story leads, which jounalists then follow-up. Not the answer to saving local news, but possible part of an answer
- 💰 Why the big newspapers are wrong about subscriptions — money quote:
Looking at this, I think I see an immature market; which is to say, the mapping between price and value is not orderly.