Opinion | The Day Facebook Ruined the Internet

Your uncle caught a flounder this afternoon. President Biden said something about the Middle East. It’s your boss’s birthday. Your unrequited crush from sophomore year is with some dude on a beach in the Florida Panhandle and drinking a beer.

Feeds, updated in real time and tailored to individual users, have become a standard feature of online social networks. In the Opinion video above, Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, traces the proliferation of these streams of curated updates to one day in September 2006 — the day Facebook switched on its News Feed.

The News Feed’s launch had a seismic impact on the internet both in the short term — by inducing widespread apoplexy among Facebook users — and in the long term by fundamentally changing the social media landscape and experience. But Mr. Hurwitz-Goodman argues that the News Feed and the internetwide transformations it inspired resulted in not only a decrease in privacy but also a loss of user autonomy and an erosion of a widely shared sense of community.

Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles.

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