Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

“After this year’s fake news and Russian micro-targeting fiascos, Facebook and others will be forced to loosen their grip over our algorithmically determined timelines to other alternatives if they want to keep our attention.”

We’ll start filtering our feeds in new ways. After this year’s fake news and Russian micro-targeting fiascos, Facebook and others will be forced to loosen their grip over our algorithmically determined timelines to other alternatives if they want to keep our attention.

Users will be able to subscribe to filters, trusted curators who overlay onto the standard feed-filtering algorithms. Picture user interfaces with new levers for control. What’s the balance between news articles and friend updates you want in your feed this week? Want to filter out all Trump news for the day? Stop showing my prankster videos. Subscribe to only show me AP-verified news in my feed.

The MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media has been experimenting with what the feed might look like with users in control. Their Gobo project allows users to sign in with their existing social accounts and presents filter sliders to directly tweak the outputs of the feed, and even shows you what was taken out with those filters applied. Far from a black box, this is the closest we’ve come to being able to express our filtering intentions and preferences outright, instead of allowing them to be inferred and assumed from all our previous behaviors.

Imagine being able to mute all men in your feed for just a few hours at a time! Or cutting back on “rudeness” or sensationalism in your feed.

For the record, I made a similar argument last year, but the crises of 2017 have opened up new opportunities in user demand and platform remediation efforts.

If Facebook continues to assiduously avoid being a “media company,” it will have to start letting do their vetting and filtering for them. Curation by an open market of trusted algorithms, rather than one engineered expressly to keep you on the site longer will lead to better experiences and perhaps even increased user literacy around media consumption in our personalized feeds.

Sara M. Watson is a technology critic and affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Paul Ford   Go global

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Errin Haines Whack   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Jake Levine   The return to now

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Burt Herman   Things get real

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened