Meta is changing the name of the Facebook “News Feed,” to “Feed,” the company announced Tuesday. Little additional information is available at the moment, though given the company’s tanking stock price, it makes us wonder: Is this another “look over there!” rebrand from the company previously known as Facebook?
Many of the blue app’s biggest problems originate with the News Feed algorithm, as was highlighted by Frances Haugen last year. The algorithm is programmed to emphasize engagement, often amplifying hate and disinformation and allegedly addicting users to toxic content as it goes. This, in the worst cases, has helped people organize an insurrection domestically and sparked genocide overseas.
Often the “news” propagated by the News Feed isn’t really news at all, but opinion pieces, politically charged commentary or outright lies. This, combined with the ways social media in general has kneecapped traditional media’s business models, has long made the News Feed a thorn in journalists’ side.
“Facebook's News Feed has a bunch of far-right propaganda masquerading as news. So they've renamed it 'Feed' [sic] Problem solved!” tweeted political reporter Judd Legum on Twitter.
Changing the name of “News Feed” to “Feed” hardly solves either of these problems and neither will changing the name of Facebook teammates to metamates. But maybe, if the rebranding is shiny and sparkly enough, investors won’t care.