When Facebook announced Timeline last year which introduced the controversial feature of ‘frictionless sharing’. Frictionless sharing involves sharing of all data from the apps that you use on Facebook. If you read a article on a Facebook app, it would get shared automatically on the timeline and if you were listening to Spotify on Facebook, all the songs that you were listening to were shared on your timeline, which also got into your friends’ news feed. However, soon enough this approach started showing some issues. This no holds barred sharing raised a huge privacy concern as it effectively meant that you had no control over what you wanted to share.
The Washington Post and The Guardian launched their social reader apps to great success. This brought both these publications some major traffic on the social network. The virality of this frictionless sharing helped it reach a lot of people. However, at the same time there was a growing feedback from users about how the reader apps were sharing articles that they were barely reading, thus amounting to spam. Also, Facebook started grouping all the articles that people shared and highlighted just one trending article, thus lowering the number of hits to these news websites. Both these publications have now announced that they will be shutting down their reader apps and migrating the social news reader to its own website. This website will allow users to connect via Facebook logins. It will basically have the same functionality as the Facebook app but will have options to turn the ‘Instant Sharing’ mode of and on, depending on the user’s preference. Visitors will also not be needed to sign in to access the news. Those who do not sign in will be able to read the content but will not be able to share it. The Facebook app will still deliver content for a while and then ultimately will be shut down.
This new development is welcome news. Personally, I have not had the greatest experiences with social reader apps and they have not particularly helped me much to spot trending news. In fact they have led me to get exasperated because of the spammy consistency of the updates these apps used to throw out. I get all my breaking and trending news from Twitter but I will like to look forward to this new socially enhanced news website that these publications are developing. Maybe, it will be a good trade-off where virality and privacy is concerned.
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Image Source | SocialTimes