This article from the Washington Post is one of several I’ve seen in the last few days, highlighting the differences between the coverage of the situation in Ferguson, MO on Facebook and Twitter. They are all essentially arguing the same thing. On Twitter, you see lots of stuff about Ferguson. On Facebook, you see lots of stuff about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Although this article notes that some component of the difference is that Twitter is a platform that encourages people to update frequently, most of the article is dedicated to implying the cause is Facebook’s news algorithm.
I don’t claim to understand Facebook’s algorithm. They aren’t transparent about how it works and for work, I can find it infuriating.
Personally, I’m not having this experience. My Facebook feed is as dominated by Ferguson related material as my Twitter feed. As far as I can tell, there’s a simple reason. Most of my friends are culturally aware. A lot of them are activists. Many of them are POC and other minorities.
I’m privileged to call these people my friends. And not just Facebook friends. Real friends who are reporters and activists and volunteers and generally aware that shit in the world is fucked up and bullshit.
If no one on your Facebook feed is posting about Ferguson or the wars in Syria or the situation in Gaza, before you bitch about Facebook’s algorithm, think about the people you choose to surround yourself with.