Editorials

Facebook’s news feed is obviously better if you strip out the news

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meeting with a group of entrepreneurs and innovators in St. Louis. Facebook just announced its second major tweak to its algorithm, saying it will prioritize news based on users’ votes.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meeting with a group of entrepreneurs and innovators in St. Louis. Facebook just announced its second major tweak to its algorithm, saying it will prioritize news based on users’ votes. AP

Big Brother is watching you, and he cares about your happiness.

After the Russians played him because he said he was nyet-responsible for content that was fake and might have influenced a presidential election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided he is hyper-responsible for you and your mental well being.

“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post. “We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.”

Translated: News is bad for you. You might have been reading it on Facebook, but The Big Zuck knows what’s best for you and it ain’t the First Amendment or current events. He’s hiding those troubling thoughts from your “news” feed. Your happiness and health are directly tied to posts about cute pets, superior offspring and birthday wishes from those you thought you knew but barely remember.

Maybe Zuckerberg should have finished his studies at Harvard. Maybe a class on ethics or philosophy or logic would have pushed his ruminations to their logical conclusion.

Or maybe he should pay attention to the rumblings at Apple, where they are worried about raising a generation of children only capable of interacting with an electronic device.

If Zuckerberg were really worried about our societal well-being, he would pull the plug on his Facebook. The whole thing. Shut it down.

He would take his $74 billion and invest in coffee shops without Wi-Fi, where people would be forced to pocket their devices and talk to one another. He would invest in journalism, so people had something to talk about.

Yes, some of the news might be unsettling, depressing or even agitate people. But some would give people purpose or lead to ideas about solutions or teach them to care for their own happiness and health.

Conversations that matter would be the mark of a healthy society. Deciding for you what content you should see is the Mark of mind control.

Facebook is making changes to show you more from friends and family, and less from publishers and brands. Here's how to keep up with The Wichita Eagle.

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