Blue Feed, Red Feed

Facebook is designed to keep your attention, not inform you with an unbiased view of the truth.

If you follow people who think like you, that will affect your social media feed. If you block people who infuriate you, that will also affect your social media feed.  I hope FB develops a way that lets responsible users flag trolls, stalkers, doxxers, etc., in order to limit the damage their posts do. But if you are more likely to be annoyed by someone whose ideology differs from yours, then the end result of blocking someone will be to make your social bubble smaller. I don’t claim that my own FB feed is neutral — of course it reflects my interests. But I also check news.google.com, which aggregates news from multiple sources (including international).

A visit to Blue Feed, Red Feed illustrates how the world (or at least the world as mediated through social media) can look very different to people who prefer their social media to be one color over another.

Screen-Shot-2016-11-12-at-3.48.58-PM-595x600-1To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue” and the other “red.” If a source appears in the red feed, a majority of the articles shared from the source were classified as “very conservatively aligned” in a large 2015 Facebook study. For the blue feed, a majority of each source’s articles aligned “very liberal.” These aren’t intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives.

Source: Blue Feed, Red Feed – WSJ.com