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Gadget Lab Podcast: Nick Thompson Discusses the Facebook Cover Story

Everything changed for Facebook two years ago. The company was accused of making politically biased choices about which news stories showed up as trending topics in users’ news feeds. The adjustments Facebook made in response to those criticisms not only changed Facebook’s platform in fundamental ways, but it also significantly altered the landscape of politics in America and elsewhere. WIREDs editor in chief Nick Thompson has just published—along with his coauthor, contributing editor Fred Vogelstein—a lengthy cover story about Facebook’s “two years of hell.” The gripping saga shows how the social network’s power to affect how its users see the world and its inaction in combatting bad actors have had disastrous consequences. This episode isn’t about gadgets, but it’s an important listen nonetheless.

Some notes: Read the Facebook story, which is also WIRED magazine’s March cover story. The launch of Instant Articles. Adam Mosseri’s 2016 post about the initial News Feed tweaks. Last month, Facebook tweaked the News Feed again. Nick interviews Tristan Harris in 2017. Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of the global community.

Recommendations this week: You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier, Jennifer Kahn’s profile of Lanier in The New Yorker, Havit’s Ultra Thin mechanical keyboard, and the game of Backgammon.

Send the hosts feedback on their personal Twitter feeds. Arielle Pardes is @pardesoteric, Nick Thompson is @nxthompson, and Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.

How to Listen

You can always listen to this week’s podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here’s how:

If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. And in case you really need it, here’s the RSS feed.

If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Play Music app just by tapping here. You can also download an app like Pocket Casts or Radio Public, and search for Gadget Lab. And in case you really need it, here’s the RSS feed.

We’re also on Soundcloud, and every episode gets posted to wired.com as soon as it’s released. If you still can’t figure it out, or there’s another platform you use that we’re not on, let us know.

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