Facebook Already Dominates As A Social News Source, And It's About To Get Even Bigger

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Facebook executives have been outspoken lately about turning the News Feed into a modern day “newspaper” that serves as essential morning reading for users. The company even announced changes to its News Feed algorithm so that higher-quality content would rank higher in the Feed.

However, before Facebook publicized these major changes to its main product, the social network was already used as a source of news for millions of people.

According to a Pew Research study released in November, 30% of U.S. adults said they get their news from Facebook (more than any other social network).

What’s more, among those who do consume news on Facebook, 34% are between the ages of 18 to 29 and 39% are between 30 to 49.

Facebook News Feed manager Lars Backstrom recently alluded that he equates “high-quality” content with “1,000-word stories.” However, as the traditional media industry knows, younger readers aren’t necessarily interested in long-form content. Moreover, plenty of news on mainstream news sites clock in at under 1,000 words.

Understanding the habits of readers and cracking the code for sorting what news is important and what’s not is a difficult business. If Facebook is really going to tackle this project, it has its work cut out. (The Atlantic)

In Other News …

Instagram launched a direct messaging product called Instagram Direct, which allows users to send photos and videos directly to friends. The move has been widely seen as a reaction to the success of Snapchat. (Instagram Blog)

Amidst outcry from users, Twitter quickly reversed a change to its “block” function that would have allowed harassers to interact with a user’s tweets. (Twitter Blog)

Wired examines the theory that the next stage in social media’s evolution will come from apps and services that connect people offline who met online. (Wired)

YouTube‘s live streaming function is now available on all channels. Channel managers can also launch a Google+ Hangout while they are on air, giving them an outlet to interact with viewers. (YouTube Blog)

Approximately 62% of web traffic is generated by computer-powered bots, according to a study by Incapsula. This growing trend is likely a result of the online publishing industry, which is notorious for purchasing traffic that hits their websites so that they can charge advertisers more money. (Incapsula)

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