The quip made by Private Eye magazine when newspapers left “hot metal” technology all those years ago - “New technology baffles pissed old hack” - might need a little updating to cover the latest demonstration by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog that some in the new media have an embarrassingly deficient knowledge of the medium in which they claim expertise.
Behold the figurehead of deep technological knowledge
Under the guise of once more putting the boot into BuzzFeed, probably because it does genuine journalism, rather than the self-appointed faux kind practised by The Great Guido, has come the claim “Facebook’s Retreat From News And Algo Change Panics Buzzfeed”. The post explains “Facebook’s Adam Mosseri announced last Thursday that it is getting out of the news business and going back to connecting people with personal stuff”.
And, so what? Is there some point to this exercise? The post attempts to do so as it continues “For Buzzfeed and other Facebook traffic driven organisations this is bad news, Buzzfeed gets some 23% of their traffic at the whim of Mark Zuckerberg. Unsurprisingly Buzzfeed bought adverts on Facebook on Friday pushing soon to be lost users to download their app”. But then the Fawkes massive starts to go wrong.
“In the political sphere those sites that specialise in clickbaity headlines designed to go viral on Facebook may see a drop in traffic”. And they may not: this is something that all of those who run blogs, solo or group efforts, monitor. What the Fawkes rabble clearly don’t know is what these “Algo Changes” are. The Great Guido is not privy to Facebook’s algorithm development programme. Nor is he as savvy on technology as he imagines.
This is mostly crap (no surprise there) ...
We know this after the post tells “Approximately 7% of Guido’s traffic is referred from Facebook. Twitter on the other hand drives 23% of our traffic, just behind Google on 24%. The Spectator and Breitbart also rely on Facebook for some ~7% to 8% of their traffic. Skwawkbox and The Canary rely on Facebook respectively for a massive ~40% and ~48% of traffic”. That very much depends on how you use Facebook.
Zelo Street has a Facebook page which has all the blog’s posts linked from it. This is nothing to do with the site’s move away from news, and is no different from any other Facebook page offering links to other content. Likewise, Skwawkbox has a Facebook page which links back to that blog. What The Canary offers looks no different, except that it’s had more effort expended on it. The Fawkes folks are just scaremongering.
... which makes it more of this
But then, when it comes to The Great Guido and technology, we’ve been here before. When they were trying to shill (again) for London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the Fawkes rabble made a series of claims about “automatic” trains, and how London’s Tube could be made driverless. They were talking crap. Because they didn’t understand the technology.
Fast forward two years, and the Fawkes massive is still shooting from the hip before finding out what they are talking about. Another fine mess, once again.