Human Curation Sets Apple News Apart From Algorithm-Focused News Sources Like Google and Facebook

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    In a new report by The New York Times today, Apple let a reporter take a glimpse inside the human curation process of its Apple News service. The article looks into Apple's news strategy (which is focusing less on algorithm-led news curation like its rivals), the service's future integration with Texture magazine subscriptions, and its issues with ad revenue.

    Providing context, the NYT explains how the rise of Google and Facebook came with news delivery that was driven in part by algorithms. While this enabled the companies to point users towards millions of articles, boosting clicks and shares and driving traffic to various sites, the process ended up sometimes emphasizing articles that were sensational, misleading, highly partisan, or simply false. Although both Facebook and Google have now highlighted methods to fight back against "fake news," some view it as too little too late, and now Apple is taking a different approach.

    Apple News editor in chief Lauren Kern via NYT

    With Apple News, users can select the publishers they like the most, as well as interests like tech or entertainment, and Apple will surface relevant articles every day. The human curation aspect of Apple News comes on the app's main screen: every top article you see is hand selected every day by the company's editors. According to Apple News editor in chief Lauren Kern, "There is this deep understanding that a thriving free press is critical for an informed public, and an informed public is critical for a functioning democracy, and that Apple News can play a part in that."

    Following the events of the 2016 presidential election and revelations about Russian spies using algorithm-focused news curation sites to spread misinformation, Apple "remained convinced of the benefits of people."
    Kern joined Apple from New York Magazine, and now leads around 30 journalists located across Sydney, London, New York, and Silicon Valley. Among hundreds of pitches from various publishers, the team picks five stories that sit atop Apple News every day, the top two of which also appear in the Apple News widget.

    In the interview, Kern explains that there are just some stories that don't pass "the smell test," which has led Apple to avoid covering certain events that were heavily shared across Google News, Facebook, and Twitter. In one example, Apple News did not run a story posted by ABC News concerning the Robert Mueller investigation. As an explanation, Kern explained that the Apple News team's methods can't be "baked into an algorithm."

    The main concern brought up in regards to human editors are their potential bias toward certain political coverage. In response, Kern says that bias can be baked into an algorithm's code, and that humans offer far more subtly in the decision making process of sharing the news.
    Some publishers remain concerned with Apple News' future, particularly because of Apple's ad revenue policies. For one, readers on Apple News stay inside of Apple's app for the most part, curbing ad revenue for the publisher of the article and limiting data from direct clicks to the sites. While publishers can sell ads on their stories in Apple News, most say the process is complicated and that advertiser interest was low because of the lack of consumer data.
    Looking to the future, Apple next plans to integrate a magazine subscription service -- acquired through Texture -- into Apple News. When asked about Apple potentially reporting the news itself and not just curating it, Apple's chief of apps Roger Rosner said, "We don't talk about future plans, but that's certainly not what we set out to do." Asked for further clarification, Rosner responded, "Who knows?"

    While concerns over ad revenue and the app's future remain, many publishers were positive about Apple News when asked about their opinion of the service. New York Magazine chief product officer Daniel Hallac noted that traffic from Apple News had doubled since last December, as Facebook dropped and Google remained the dominant source of the site's traffic. Looking at the growth, Hallac said that he's "optimistic about Apple News."

    To read the full story, head over to The New York Times: "Apple's Radical Approach to News: Humans Over Machines"

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Human Curation Sets Apple News Apart From Algorithm-Focused News Sources Like Google and Facebook
  2. Bornee35 macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2013
  3. Baymowe335 macrumors 601

    Oct 6, 2017
  4. kurosov macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2009
    And yet the “spotlight” section is always full of the most worthless crap I never want to read, can’t be disabled and often has a big red dot annoyingly indicating some new crap.
  5. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    Let mama Apple tell you what you should hear. All these news conglomeration sites (Apple News included) are filters. If you want to look at the world through someone else's filter, knock yourself out.
    If not - maybe just go to the sources you trust?
  6. deebinem macrumors regular

    May 7, 2017
    Quit "curating" the same dayum Ad every fourth story!
  7. 212rikanmofo macrumors 68000

    Jan 31, 2003
    First thing I did when using Apple News is block fake news MSM sources like NYT, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, CNN, Times, etc.
  8. deebinem macrumors regular

    May 7, 2017

    EDIT: Ohhhh, you mean Multiplication Weekly
  9. motm95 macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2010
    I am sure Apple's News editors are good people who honestly believe they are presenting a fair and unbalanced cross-section of news, but I highly doubt it really works out that way.
  10. iapplelove macrumors 601


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    I deleted Apple news the second I got the chance to delete stock apps.
  11. OneBagTravel macrumors 6502a


    Oct 18, 2013
    Is anyone skeptical of someone having the power of showing you what you see in the news?

  12. iapplelove macrumors 601


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    First thing I did was block/delete Apple news.

    No better nor worse than google etc
  13. jdclifford macrumors 6502

    Jul 26, 2011
    "Ms. Kern criticized the argument that algorithms are the sole way to avoid prejudice because bias can be baked into the algorithm's code, such as whether it labels news organizations liberal or conservative. She argued that humans -- with all their biases -- are the only way to avoid bias. The main concern brought up in regards to human editors are their potential bias toward certain political coverage. In response, Kern says that bias can be baked into an algorithm's code, and that humans offer far more subtly in the decision making process of sharing the news".

    Curation or censorship? Human bias only way to avoid bias? What utter BS! I'll make up my own mind thank you. I don't need you to tell me what's real or important for me to know.
  14. hmark8 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2009
    Personally not a fan of human curation of algorithms. Back when they announced the new iTunes I was so excited but then dismayed to hear they were anti algorithms and pro human curation. YouTube Music for instance nails my specific tastes everytime as did Pandora mostly and Spotify. But Apple Music was almost always a total miss. They know what I've listened to and play those artists but not the right songs at the right time, or importantly modern covers of songs I've previously loved.

    Same goes with Apple News, it shows the sources I subscribe to, but doesnt surface the articles in particular tech I want compared to Google News which surfaces all of those and even local news I'd find relevant.

    Of course this is because Google and others track everything so they can use algorithms to tailor exactly what I want (at the cost of our privacy). Apple doesn't do this with our privacy but at the cost of not having good algorthms and instead have to focus on human curation which depending on your tastes maybe a good thing but not for many others.
  15. DNichter macrumors G3


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    I like this and I have really enjoyed Apple News. I think it's important that Apple retains that human touch to News, Music, and other aspects of their business. As other companies try to just turn everything into algorithms, this will set Apple apart.
  16. citysnaps macrumors 601

    Oct 10, 2011
    San Francisco
    Why? What are your go-to news sources?
  17. Caspavio macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2018
    sometimes i think curation and apps like google and apple news arent good; by curating and serving news based on your tastes and preferences will narrow the stuff you read. i try to read WSJ, economist and local newspaper before using app to read topics that interest me
  18. RudySnow macrumors 6502


    Aug 27, 2016
    Tyler, TX
    Obviously you have no idea how Apple News works. You control the filters—allowing certain news sites, disallowing others—and you can easily make this a very personalized news aggregator. Why would you make a comment like that if you have no idea what you’re talking about? I call this a “fake post.”
  19. Mike MA macrumors 68000

    Mike MA

    Sep 21, 2012
    You mean like any editor in the world working for TV, news sites or printed media? Not a long as I have choices to chose from.
  20. AngerDanger, Oct 25, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018

    AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
    Just waiting for the day I can add the PRSI to Apple News…

    EDIT: What's with that photo? it's like they're all behind a layer of fog.

  21. BMcCoy macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2010
    Correct. News is a self-selected confirmation bias.
    Most people read/watch news that agrees with their pre-existing point of view.

    I have heard it suggested that we should take time to read and watch news from sources that we do not normally agree with, to challenge and make us think, and perhaps come up with cognitive arguments to refute what we have heard, or occasionally accept that alternate point of view.

    But for many people, that level of insight, to be able to change your mind, or accept someone else is right, when you are wrong.. that just doesn't happen very often!
  22. 212rikanmofo macrumors 68000

    Jan 31, 2003
    There's a lot to choose from. The cool thing is that I get a choice of who to block and who to read from.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 25, 2018 ---
    Nah, Google is much worse. **** Google.
  23. breather macrumors member


    Jan 26, 2011
    "Lack of consumer data"... well, that's a good thing for us, right? I mean, Apple doesn't give away our data to easily sell advertisements?
  24. citysnaps macrumors 601

    Oct 10, 2011
    San Francisco
    Can you name four or five of your favorite sources you rely on for your daily news?
  25. Coconut Bean macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2011
    And how big is the news team? How diverse? Sure, algorithmic news promotion will create an echo-chamber and thus polarization but a news compilation selected by a few will definitely not be neutral or more true or unbiased.

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