Facebook faces outrage over amplifying outrage

Social media giant Facebook faced fresh allegations Monday that its angry algorithms amplified outrage over agreeability.  These revelations are among the latest to emerge out of the Facebook Papers, a trove of internal company documents made public by the Facebook Whistleblower.  

Oddly, the tech giant has responded by using this new round of allegations to condition its algorithm into promoting even more anger and hostility, creating a seemingly infinite vortex of outrage.  “When the world’s throwing a hissy fit, we’re down in the basement printing money,” joked Facebook communications official Tucker Bounds in an internal email.

According to the Washington Post, Facebook engineers gave more points to news stories that elicited an angry response over ones that garnered a ‘like’ by a five to one margin.  This ranking system prompted the company’s cranky old algorithm to promote stories that incited anger over all the feel good, human interest stories the media churns out everyday. 

“In turn, this has caused the world to become engulfed in flames,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee at a hearing Monday.  “There’s a lot to discover in these papers about how the platform promotes extremism and hurts our communities, but here’s what is clear: Facebook knew.”

Another revelation in the Facebook Papers exposes efforts early on to build an algorithm for promoting and disseminating information on the platform.  

“They basically sent teams of researchers out to coffee shops to observe what types of news stories got cranky, old retired dudes all riled up,” internal memos revealed.  “They built the algorithm based on what they discovered conducting these ‘field expeditions.’”   

Facebook is facing intense pressure from congress and media outlets regarding why they would knowingly choose to promote outrage over sensible, mild-mannered discussions of the day’s top stories.  

“We’re just flabbergasted that Facebook would intentionally encourage outrage just for clicks and shares,” said Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources.  “At least when we in the traditional media promote hysteria over measured conversations, it’s because we don’t have a clue what we’re doing.  Facebook knew exactly what they were doing.”

Media releases News Pyramid guidelines, recommends five full servings of bullshit per day

Mainstream media outlets today released their 2019 News Pyramid guidelines for recommended daily allowances of news consumption, and there seems to be agreement among experts on one thing – Americans need more bullshit in their news diet.

“Most mainstream news organizations are recommending Americans get at least five full servings of bullshit per day,” says guidelines contributor Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources.  

While the guidelines don’t specify between print, television, or social media content, most experts agree cable news is an excellent source of the kind of fact-free, speculative nonsense of which most Americans could benefit.  A healthy diet of bullshit journalism has the additional benefit of providing confirmation of the consumer’s beliefs and ideology, while at the same time pointing out that everyone who doesn’t hold the same views is evil and wrong.

The next level on the News Pyramid calls for four daily servings of partisan propaganda. While most Americans try to avoid eating their propaganda, the report notes the necessity of its daily consumption for the functioning of a healthy democracy.  “Don’t worry if you’re left or right, Republican or Democrat,” the guidelines state, “there’s a news organization out there ready to satisfy your partisan hunger.”

In what signals a change from recent years, the new News Pyramid guidelines raise the recommended daily allowance of conspiracy content from two to three servings per day. Experts warn, however, consumers of news should only get their conspiracy from authoritative sources. Rachel Maddow, Vox, and the New York Times are all considered excellent sources of conspiracy content and should be chosen over the empty, non-authoritative conspiracy musings of YouTube.

“Two ‘hit pieces’ per day are essential to a healthy news diet,” according to the new guidelines.  Some journalists take great pleasure in writing ‘hit pieces’ because they recall an adolescent superficiality and pettiness, so consumers should indulge the writer’s childish impulses by reading them.  Although they can be found at almost every news source, the New Yorker and Vox are exceptionally proficient at this brand of juvenile journalism.

Finally, the news consumer should make sure to save room for at least one serving of Jim Acosta per day.  The new guidelines cite Acosta as that rare guilty pleasure that almost as often becomes the news as reports it.  If news dieters follow these simple recommendations, they can become almost as confused and clueless as some of the journalists who report it.