The Huffington Post has announced that it is handing over its entire comments system to those crazy social-graph-heads at Facebook. (The editors made the news public over this last weekend, which tells you something about how much they wanted it to get around.)
This is noteworthy since HuffPo (now owned by AOL) has always talked a proud line about the value and importance of its community. It has invested considerable effort and resources into moderating the flood of reader comments on its high-traffic pages, and has long been a poster-child for the success of that kind of moderation. As you might expect, the site’s devoted user base simply loved the change, haha, JK.
So what gives? Herewith, some speculation, idle rumor, and pure fabrication.
HuffPo is moving its comments to Facebook because…
- (10) …AOL CEO Tim Armstrong wants Facebook to buy the whole operation, and he’s making nice to Clan Zuckerberg.
- (9) …HuffPo leadership understands that before much longer, 100 percent of news-site traffic will come as Facebook referrals, so why fight the future?
- (8) …It’s all a big mistake! Someons in HuffPo operations got phished, lost control of the site’s Facebook account to a botnet in Belarus, and before the editors knew what happened, the switch got flipped.
- (7) …No, actually, it happened while all the HuffPo honchos were taking naps.
- (6) …Arianna Huffington woke from a nap and realized that the whole frenzied business of user comments ran counter to her Third Metric ethos of work-life balance.
- (5) …HuffPo editors were suddenly seized with the epiphany that all the users who post angry diatribes for/against gun control/pot legalization want all their Facebook friends to see every single carefully weighed word.
- (4) …Obviously, AOL is just protecting its dialup business, the way it always has. (OK, I don’t understand what that might have to do with the commenting platform, and neither do they. It just is.)
- (3) …The NSA discovered that the entire corpus of 6,472,835,119 comments in HuffPo’s database actually contain an encrypted representation of the Snowden files, set to decode in the event of the whistleblower’s demise. AOL’s lawyers didn’t want any of that.
- (2) …The Obama birth-certificate forgers who run the Democrat-loving site couldn’t handle the EXPLODING BARRELS OF TRUTH that patriot commenters were smuggling into their socialist, abortionist, homosexual-coddling pages! But they will fail! Even Facebook can’t keep the voices of freedom down!!!!!! !!!
- (1) …As CTO Otto Toth explained in the Saturday announcement, “At The Huffington Post, we are always thinking of ways to better engage our worldwide audience and create a meaningful community for our readership.”
But, you know, on second thought, we’ve decided it’s a hell of a lot easier to let another company do the thinking and creating for us.