Microsoft Joins Facebook in Using Algorithms Instead of Humans
BusinessInsider.com recently broke a story about how AI giant Microsoft fired dozens of editors of MSN.com, one of the world’s biggest news destinations, in favor of using and AI-driven system of picking news.
The story points out three other key facts:
- Earlier this year, the company put Microsoft News under Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which is algorithm-driven.
- Insiders said the most recent move is the latest attempt by Microsoft News to move away from relying on human editors.
- Several insiders expressed skepticism about the ability of an algorithm to do all the subtle things that human editors do well, though.
A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement: “Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic.”
According to Geekwire.com, Microsoft laid off about 50 independent contractor editors.
The move may be part of a trend by AI companies to cut costs, especially in light of the impact of COVID-19. Business Insider’s analysis points out how much of an impact Microsoft’s news service has globally:
“Microsoft News dates back to 1995 and served to promote Microsoft’s internet service. It was part of a family of content and service sites at Microsoft including Slate, Sidewalk.com, and Expedia.com. Over the years, Microsoft has largely divested those sites and stopped producing original content. Its news aggregator MSN.com remains a top news destination, though. Comscore lists it as a top site in the U.S. and Microsoft News claims to reach close to half a billion people in 140 countries.”
YouTube and Facebook have been criticized for relying on algorithms for content on their sites, sometimes posting fake or misleading news.
“Facebook has tried to fix its credibility over the years by hiring human editors, but still relies mostly on algorithms in deciding what news to promote. Tim Cook has made a point of the fact that Apple News has a team of human editors running the news aggregation app, in contrast with rival Facebook.”
Microsoft has paid $700 million to 1,000 news providers like USA Today, The New York Times and Fox News over the past four years. It pays contracted editors around $35 to $40 an hour.
MSN has nearly 500 million monthly users in 140 countries across web, mobile and email.
read more at businessinsider.com