The Guardian wants more control over content, pulls Facebook Social Reader app

the guardian on facebook

U.K. newspaper the Guardian announced Thursday  that it will shut down its Facebook Social Reader app, bringing an end to one of the most high-profile experiments of Facebook’s often-touted Open Graph.

The Guardian was hoping to ride the coattails of the launch of Open Graph, which leverages Facebook user’s social reading habits. And, according to the publication, it worked. The Guardian Group Product Manager Anthony Sullivan writes that, “Over 12 million Facebook users have authenticated the Guardian Facebook app since launch, and at its peak (April 2012) we were seeing 6 million active monthly users.”

The problem is that the Guardian’s (and other participating publications’) articles were being read on Facebook in their entirety. Users weren’t clicking through to the publication’s website. For the Guardian to make money and attract advertisers, the publication needs its readers to visit its website. While Sullivan admits that Facebook did bring in new readers – “the Facebook app has given us access to a hard to reach audience” – it was also keeping readers from the Guardian’s site.

So starting today, should you read an article from the Guardian using its Social Reader app, that article will no longer be published to your Timeline and won’t appear in your friends’ News Feeds.

Social Reader was intended to disseminate information quickly and frictionlessly, which in some cases was too effective to the point of being deemed “spam.” Spotify ran into this issue last year after launching its own Open Graph app when an inundation of Spotify playlists were being published to user’s News Feeds. That issue has since died down thanks to changes to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm.

Facebook users can now log into the Guardian’s website using Facebook Connect, and choose the articles they’d like to share themselves. And when a reader clicks on any Guardian links shared on Facebook, they’re now sent to guardian.co.uk.

The Guardian’s decision to pull out shows that Facebook has at least a minor a problem; it’s in tight control of content published on the social network to the point of thwarting the monetization of its partners’ content. Will Facebook be compelled to make some changes to its Social Reader? We would guess that more publishing partners are going to have to drop out before Facebook beings to second guess its Social Reader.

Product Review

Fitbit’s Inspire HR fitness tracker nails the basics and keeps the price low

Fitbit targets the new user with the Inspire HR, a low-cost, lightweight fitness tracker that covers all the basics. I put the device through its paces. It not only lived up to our expectations for an entry-level tracker, but sometimes…
Product Review

What do you do with 187 megapixels? The Lumix S1R is glorious overkill

The Lumix S1R is one of the most capable cameras ever made, from its robust build to extensive feature set. But its key feature, a 187MP high resolution mode, is something few customers will have use for.
Social Media

A Facebook, Instagram bug exposed millions of passwords to its employees

Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram passwords weren't properly encrypted and could be viewed by employees, the company said Thursday. The network estimates millions of users were affected.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.