Facebook’s Retreat from News and Algo Change Panics Buzzfeed

Facebook’s Adam Mosseri announced last Thursday that it is getting out of the news business and going back to connecting people with personal stuff:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers…” 

Good for people who want to share pictures of their cats, bad for media organisations that have a business model based on cat GIFs. Twitter’s stock price rose 5% on the news that they will now be the main social news platform…

For Buzzfeed and other Facebook traffic driven organisations this is bad news, Buzzfeed gets some 23% of their traffic at the whim of Mark Zuckerberg. Unsurprisingly Buzzfeed bought adverts on Facebook on Friday pushing soon to be lost users to download their app. At one time Buzzfeed were spending millions on Facebook adverts, they may well have to do so again if their content is dropped from the Facebook feed. In the political sphere those sites that specialise in clickbaity headlines designed to go viral on Facebook may see a drop in traffic…

Approximately 7% of Guido’s traffic is referred from Facebook. Twitter on the other hand drives 23% of our traffic, just behind Google on 24%. The Spectator and Breitbart also rely on Facebook for some ~7% to 8% of their traffic. Skwawkbox and The Canary rely on Facebook respectively for a massive ~40% and ~48% of traffic…

N.B. Traffic data sourced from Similarweb.
mdi-timer 16th January 2018 @ 4:06 pm 16th Jan 2018 @ 4:06 pm mdi-comment Comments
Billionaire Backer Dumps Breitbart Because of Milo

Hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer announced today that he was cutting all financial ties with Breitbart News and Milo Yiannopoulos. He released a statement explaining his ideological stance and distancing himself from Milo and Breitbart:

A society founded on the basis of the individual freedom that flourishes under a limited federal government has no place for discrimination. Of the many mischaracterizations made of me by the press, the most repugnant to me have been the intimations that I am a white supremacist or a member of some other noxious group.

Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, creed, or anything of that sort is abhorrent to me. But more than that, it is ignorant.

The press has also intimated that my politics marches in lockstep with Steve Bannon’s. l have great respect for Mr. Bannon, and from time to time I do discuss politics with him. However, I make my own decisions with respect to whom I support politically. Those decisions do not always align with Mr. Bannon’s.

Without individuals thinking for themselves, society as a whole will struggle to distinguish the signal of truth from the correlated noise of conformity. I supported Milo Yiannopoulos in the hope and expectation that his expression of views contrary to the social mainstream and his spotlighting of the hypocrisy of those who would close down free speech in the name of political correctness would promote the type of open debate and freedom of thought that is being throttled on many American college campuses today. But in my opinion, actions of and statements by Mr. Yiannopoulos have caused pain and divisiveness undermining the open and productive discourse that I had hoped to facilitate. l was mistaken to have supported him, and for several weeks have been in the process of severing all ties with him.

For personal reasons, I have also decided to sell my stake in Breitbart News to my daughters.

Last Guido heard Milo was pretty tight with Rebekah Mercer, though we have been unable to confirm if that is still the case…

mdi-timer 2nd November 2017 @ 4:11 pm 2nd Nov 2017 @ 4:11 pm mdi-comment Comments
Breitbart Readers Offered “Military Grade” Armageddon Survival Kits
Breitbart has sent its readers a “special message” warning that the world is on the brink of a “major crisis” and telling them they should buy a “4-week survival food supply” in case of impending economic doom:
The economy is teetering on the brink of collapse – all it takes is one bad day to bring the overly-inflated stock market bubble down. Meanwhile, our government doesn’t have the capacity – let alone the unity – to protect and provide for all in the event of a major crisis. That’s why every responsible citizen needs to take it upon themselves to prepare while there’s still time.”
If you want the Breitbart-endorsed package wrapped “in military-grae Mylar, which keeps your food fresh for up to 25 years” you’ll find it at My Patriot SupplyNot exactly a vote of confidence in President Trump…
mdi-timer 1st March 2017 @ 4:56 pm 1st Mar 2017 @ 4:56 pm mdi-comment Comments
Milo Quits Breitbart, Watch Press Conference Live

He says he’ll publish his book anyway and give 10% of the royalties to child abuse charities…

mdi-timer 21st February 2017 @ 8:10 pm 21st Feb 2017 @ 8:10 pm mdi-comment Comments
DfE Counter-Extremism Unit Shuts Down Milo Speech

The Department for Education’s counter-extremism unit has reportedly ordered Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury to cancel a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, the flaxen-haired Trump-supporting Breitbart provocateur. Milo was due to give a talk at his old school, which 220 pupils had signed up to attend. The school says the decision to shut the talk down was made “following contact from the Department for Education’s counter-extremism unit, the threat of demonstrations at the school by organised groups and members of the public and overall concerns for the security of the school site and the safety of our community”. They add that the talk was backed by pupils, parents and teachers and say they are disappointed at the DfE’s decision. Milo says:

“My old high school has been bullied into cancelling my talk on Tuesday by the “counter-extremism” unit at the U.K. Department of Education. Who even knew the DoE had a counter-extremism unit? And that it wasn’t set up to combat terrorism but rather to punish gays with the wrong opinions?… Disgusted.”

The DfE’s counter-extremism unit was not set up to silence satirical stage acts like Milo, Guido cannot ever recall him advocating violence – banning him from speaking at his old school is bonkers. A school is having to no-platform speakers because of government intervention and the threat of demonstrations. Have Milo’s opponents learned nothing from the last few weeks?

UPDATE: A Department for Education spokesperson said:

“When concerns are raised by members of the public following media coverage in advance of an event, the department would contact the school as a matter of routine to check they had considered any potential issues. The decision to cancel the event was a matter for the school.”

mdi-timer 21st November 2016 @ 3:28 pm 21st Nov 2016 @ 3:28 pm mdi-comment Comments
Beeb’s Bannon Bashing Backfires

An entertaining Today programme to-and-fro about Breitbart’s chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon. Justin Webb boldly told Breitbart* editor Joel Pollack that Bannon “doesn’t like Jews”, Pollack replied that he is an orthodox Jew who observes the Shabbat and eats kosher food, and that Bannon is not an anti-Semite. Undeterred, Webb asked why a Breitbart report mentioned that the journalist Anne Applebaum is Jewish. Pollack replied: “I don’t know, why don’t you ask the Jewish author of that sentence?” For those interested, it’s worth reading Iain Martin and Freddy Gray on Bannon. Rather than learn the lessons from the election the liberal media has reverted to its perennially outraged misfiring attack mode…

*Andrew Breitbart himself was Jewish.

mdi-timer 17th November 2016 @ 12:22 pm 17th Nov 2016 @ 12:22 pm mdi-comment Comments
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