Off the Top

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers a different take on the top story of the day.

Facebook overestimated its average video viewing time metric by 60 percent to 80 percent for 2 years

You might have heard: Facebook says video on the platform is booming and claims its users watch 100 million hours of video each day But did you know: According to data Publicis Media says it obtained from Facebook, Facebook has been vastly over reporting its key video metric for more than two years. Publicis estimates […]

Unable to find a replacement for its executive director, the Sunlight Foundation will look to merge with another organization

You might have heard: After two years leading the Sunlight Foundation, executive director Christopher Gates stepped down in January (Poynter) But did you know: After its former executive director Christopher Gates left the organization earlier this year, the Sunlight Foundation’s board considered about two dozen candidates as his replacement. But none of those candidates “persuaded […]

The Washington Post becomes the first paper to call for the prosecution of its own source

You might have heard: The Washington Post’s editorial board called for the prosecution of Edward Snowden, saying that only one of the government programs Snowden revealed was in the public interest (Washington Post) But did you know: Three out of the four news organizations that received NSA documents from Edward Snowden have called for the […]

Facebook is pushing advertisers to speed up their mobile sites and warning their ads may not be served if their websites are slow

You might have heard: Facebook created Instant Articles with the goal of reducing load times and creating a more seamless experience for users But did you know: Facebook wants its advertisers to speed up their mobile sites, and it’s warning that it may limit where their ads appear if they don’t do so. On its […]

Vice promised assignments to freelancers and later rescinded them, failed to pay freelancers, and used fixers on stories without intending to pay them

You might have heard: Being a freelance journalist comes with its own challenges, such as not getting regular feedback on your work and not having as many rights with companies as a full-time employee would But did you know: “Freelancers have grown accustomed to being treated like disposable cogs of news production,” and Yardena Schwartz […]

Former Facebook news curators say the story selection algorithm failed to improve over time and wasn’t ready to be released

You might have heard: Trying to get rid of human bias in its trending topics, Facebook announced it would no longer longer employ humans to write descriptions for the section, but just three days after that announcement, the trending news section include a fake news story claiming Megyn Kelly had been fired from Fox News […]

Trying to get rid of human bias in its trending topics, Facebook will no longer employ humans to write descriptions for the section

You might have heard: Former Facebook news curators told Gizmodo they regularly suppressed conservative news from the site’s trending news section, butFacebook says it found no systematic bias in its own investigation But did you know: Facebook will no longer employ humans to write the descriptions for its trending topics section, and has laid off […]

BuzzFeed is dividing itself into two distinct departments — BuzzFeed News and BuzzFeed Entertainment

You might have heard: Some speculated earlier this year that BuzzFeed could curtail its news operations to focus on more profitable areas such as video and entertainment But did you know: BuzzFeed announced Tuesday that it is dividing into two as part of a company-wide reorganization. The two groups will be BuzzFeed News and a […]

After Univision excludes from its acquisition offer, will shut down next week

You might have heard: Univision bid $135 million for Gawker Media, but that bid doesn’t include (The Street) But did you know: After 14 years, will end its operations next week after Univision declined to include the website in its offer for Gawker Media. Staff were informed Thursday afternoon that the site would […]

Univision is buying Gawker Media and its seven sites for $135 million

You might have heard: The auction for Gawker Media was expected to draw bidders such as New York Magazine and Penske Media, and Univision is trying to diversify and expand its audience through acquisitions But did you know: Despite the buzz around the sale, the auction for Gawker Media on Tuesday drew only two bidders: […]