Comment Modern internet journalism is terrible and full of trivial clickbait designed for Facebook, says Mike Hudack, director of product management at, um, Facebook.
Of course, he didn't quite phrase it like that.
Writing on (where else?) Facebook, Hudack takes aim at a mainstream media which he says has become a "hollowed out" husk: derivative, and lacking any depth and confidence. Then he pours scorn on old media's would-be replacements, like Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and Vice.
These are simply click-bait generators, devoid of depth or original reporting.
Personally I hoped that we would find a new home for serious journalism in a format that felt Internet-native and natural to people who grew up interacting with screens instead of just watching them from couches with bags of popcorn and a beer to keep their hands busy. And instead they write stupid stories about how you should wash your jeans instead of freezing them.
"It's hard to tell who's to blame." he writes "But someone should fix this shit."
Yes, somebody should. But who might this “somebody” be? Facebook has done nothing to ameliorate the trends Hudack decries, and plenty to encourage them. Facebook profits enormously from encouraging lowbrow click-bait. Its entire revenue apparatus is designed around quantity, not quality.
It's one of those fabulously un-self-aware remarks that Silicon Valley web titans specialise in. Eric Schmidt told us that we should change our identity to escape Google's crawlers, move house to avoid Google's Street View cameras and took a weird pride in how Google creeped people out.
Unlike Steve Jobs, who, later in life, took on a mission to save high-purpose journalism, Facebook has put nothing back either in terms of investment or technical infrastructure. Jobs worked with News Corp to create a digital publishing platform, offering an all-you-can eat deal inside one app. The venture was code-named “Project Alesia”. The idea was that this in turn would create a wholesale market for newspaper and magazine content. Alas, News Corp execs killed the project before it could bear fruit - leaving the iPad with a giant Newsstand-shaped hole when it launched in April 2010.
The iPad now has a Newsstand app - but it doesn't offer a one-stop, all you-can-eat deal, and it lacks the social and library features that were built into Alesia.
Facebook could choose to add a premium subscription, bundling all kinds of quality material, and so removing the incentive to populate its users' timelines with gibberish. But it chooses not to. Perhaps this is something its "Director of Product Management" might like to explore?
Valleywag calls it 'Facebook Exec Hates The Internet He Helped Create' - a headline that writes itself (and that's before you look at the URL! - Vulture Central's backroom gremlins).
Hudack's rant Facebook post can be found here. ®