Segregated social media bubbles led to media’s failure in the election, and those forces are likely to only get worse

“American political discourse in 2016 seemed to be running on two self-contained, never-overlapping sets of information,” Joshua Benton writes. “It took the Venn diagram finally meeting at the ballot box to make it clear how separate the two solitudes really are.” And while there’s many things to blame for these separated bubbles, Benton argues that the list has to start with Facebook: “For all its wonders — reaching nearly 2 billion people each month, driving more traffic and attention to news than anything else on earth — it’s also become a single point of failure for civic information. Our democracy has a lot of problems, but there are few things that could impact it for the better more than Facebook starting to care — really care — about the truthfulness of the news that its users share and take in.”

+ “One of the downsides of the fractured media landscape is that it’s easier than ever to sit in an echo chamber or filter bubble and preach to the converted. Newspaper readers believe what they want to believe, and so do those on Facebook — and never the twain shall meet,” Mathew Ingram writes (Fortune)

+ Facebook and Twitter employees are now left to grapple with the platforms’ role as news filters (Bloomberg): Former Facebook product designer Bobby Goodlatte says Facebook’s news feed was responsible for propelling Trump’s campaign because the “news feed optimizes for engagement. As we’ve learned in this election, bullshit is highly engaging” (Facebook); Max Read on the changing structures of political power: “If you thought radio changed politics, just wait till television. And if you thought television changed politics, just wait until Facebook really hits its stride. Or. Well. I guess it just did.” (Select All)

+ Cues from Facebook data that indicated a win for Trump: Trump dominated conversation on Facebook by high factors in every state and Facebook’s interest data signaled potential upsets in swing states without polls taking notice (Medium)