Brave has a strong focus on privacy, which I believe is good for various reasons. However, the recently released Brave Today news feed - as it is implemented right now - is a terrible idea, as I’ll explain below. My critique is not aimed at having a news feed in the browser (that’s cool!), but at how the news articles are filtered.
According to the blog post, Brave Today filters articles according to “a combination of personalization, recency, publishing frequency, and a degree of randomization”. Apart from randomization, each of these features is problematic.
- Personalization: The personalization of news leads to filter bubbles, where each user sees a newsfeed that is distinct from any other user, often even w.r.t. very basic claims. As a result, people find it increasingly difficult to communicate with each other and find common ground. This is a thread to any society and must be taken serious.
- Recency: The latest news is also the least fact-checked. On social media, false information spreads several times faster than correct information, so users will likely receive mostly false or incomplete information. The structure of Brave Today is different from social media in that people cannot share articles, which is good. However, the issue remains that the very latest news are also the most likely to be falsified in the future, and the falsification will not reach as many people because we suffer from anchoring and other biases.
- Publishing frequency: The more frequently a news source publishes articles, the more likely it is that it didn’t go deep into the topic and oversimplifies issues (this can be compensated for if the agency has lots of journalists, but most agencies don’t have this luxury).
Before we go ahead and propose solutions to these problems, this thread should be about understanding the problem. I have a bunch of ideas that could tackle some of the issues, but holding off on proposing solutions will improve the solutions proposed. Thus, Do not think of solutions until the problem has been discussed as thoroughly as possible without suggesting any. Once I think everyone in this thread had a good understanding of the problems that I talked about, I’ll open the discussion to proposals (though ultimately this is in the hands of the forum admins, of course).