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You’ll Never Guess When News Stopped Being A Thing! Click Here To Find Out!

I’m so fucking sick of what passes for ‘News’ these days. Once upon a time, reporters used to, you know, gather facts and report on events.

Now they sit on their lazy fucking asses embedding indignant commentary in the form of tweets from random keyboard warriors.

Even in the mainstream media, it’s all clickbait – or just plain bullshit – headlines, followed by some poorly, lazily written shit that is full of spelling and grammar errors.

It’s not news any more, it’s fucking social media commentary of the fucking news from people who seem determined to display their breathtaking ignorance.

Guess what? I really couldn’t give a flying fuck what some prick on Facebook or Twitter has to say about current events. If I did, I’d be reading the commentard sections on fucking Facebook or getting my daily news from Twitter, wouldn’t I?

Unfortunately you don’t fair any better anywhere else any more.

I mean, obviously I don’t click on headlines that says shit like: “This will blow your mind!” or “This Happened And The Internet Can’t Handle It!” and I mentally note persistently offending media sites and avoid them in future. I really don’t understand the psychology; If you tell me what your article is gonna be about in the title, I’ll decide if I want to click through to read it. Do people really just go ‘I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO KNOW WHAT “THIS” REFERS TO!!!’ and blindly click?

At least most clickbait is easy to spot and avoid. What really fucking annoys me are complete lies to get you to click.

In fact I have an example from mere minutes ago I can relate; The laughably named Trusted Reviews had an article injected in my feed this morning entitled “Your smartphone could be banned from flights indefinitely”. Given the current (ridiculous) stance the US and UK have adopted in recent weeks, it seemed reasonable this was an extension of that, and worth a read of any proposed amendments for information. Well, firstly, when you get there, the article doesn’t even have the same title. The rather dry title of the actual article says “FCC scraps plans to lift ban on in-flight phone calls.”; a title that actually tells you what the fucking article is about, mind you, when compared to the COMPLETELY FALSE title that asserts that your smartphone could be banned from flights indefinitely. The two things are not even in the same fucking ballpark.

Sure, doing shit like this might make people click through… for the three seconds it takes to find out that your practices are misleading and fucking dickish, and that your site is untrustworthy, making it highly likely I’ll just skip your site next time for a more reliable resource, or even mute it altogether in my news app of choice.

Heh. Well. Maybe.

Because all of this wouldn’t be so bad if you could just filter it out… but why, oh why, in an age of personalised news feeds from the worlds leading aggregators, why the fuck can’t I actually get the fucking news I want, and ignore the news I don’t want?

Why do Google News and Apple News deliver me fucking article after article about where some supposed celebrity I probably never heard of is hanging out in a very daring bikini with some other celebrity I’ve never heard of!? I’ve never expressed an interest in ‘Entertainment News’ or ‘Celebrity News’. In fact I’ve told them ‘less like this’ wherever I can. It doesn’t help.

I’ve experimented extensively, and pretty much all of these news apps and sites are universally utterly shit at doing the one thing they’re supposed to do.

I’d prefer to read my news on the desktop. I used to do it on Flipboard. Until Flipboard decided to redesign their UI into a completely fucking obnoxious piece of shit that’s apparently more about a social experience than reading news. No, I don’t want people to follow the fucking news I read. And no, I don’t want to read some other random fucking users view of what is news. That’s exactly what the problem is in the first place!

I would be quite happy just reading my news in the browser, frankly, but news.google.com personalisation is fucking retarded.

For example, despite the fact I have absolutely no fucking interest in football whatsoever, my feed is full of it. So you hit the ‘personalise’ button, and there’s a bunch of sliders there to adjust how much of each subject you want to see. Technology, Science, Health, blah blah. Sure there’s Sport, too, but that’s already set minimum. No football specifically. But I can’t ADD football and set the slider to zero, because what that does is actually add a new fucking subject to my newsfeed for football… and instead of negatively affecting the amount of football related crap in my feed… I now get even MORE! So ‘I would like zero news about football’ really means ‘I said football! Clearly I want fucking loads of news about football!’. Google really, badly needs a way to tell it what news I don’t want to see, because it tries to be too fucking clever for it’s own good and fails miserably.

Like, Google also insists on showing me news related to ‘stuff I’ve Googled’… even after I’ve jumped through all the hoops and entirely crippling my ‘Google Web & App Activity’ so it’s not supposed to do that. You know what? I fucking Google shit about 200 times a day. That doesn’t mean I want the fucking thing in my fucking news feed ad infinitum. How about I tell YOU what I’m interested in?

It also still thinks it’s doing me a favour by injecting ‘local news’ into my feed – but always gets it hopelessly wrong. I’ve tried letting it use my location settings. I’ve tried entering my postcode into the ‘personalise’ box. I’ve tried deleting the personalisation and entirely turning OFF my location based web activity, but Google apparently thinks that just means it has to guess harder.

Even when it did know my whereabouts down to the metre, it would spew shit from a dozen or more websites for places that bear absolutely no relevance to me or my location. Also, for some reason best known to itself, it thinks one of the most relevant news sources to give me news from is the ‘Manchester Evening News’. I’m at the opposite end of the country and genuinely couldn’t give the tiniest fuck what is going on in Manchester.

Google Play Newsstand, on the other hand, doesn’t actually seem to be bothered giving me any timely news. Even pull-updating it brings up news thats a day or three out of date, obnoxiously represented as ‘Top stories you need to know’, and once again, completely bloody ignores all my personalisation to inject stuff because ‘You’ve shown an interest in…’. NO. I fucking haven’t… I did a fucking Google search that one time, ya cunt.

Apple News can’t even manage a ‘home’ button. If you click an article from their feed, there’s very often ‘more like this’ kind of links. So you click. And you click. And you click… great! Lots of relavent news… but there’s literally no fucking way back out without clicking back and it reloading the very same bloody articles all over again so you can click back another fucking seven times. At which point all those injected ads that try and force-open the App Store app and stuff all do their shit again, and half the time the app crashes out altogether. And always takes a fucking age to come back to life so you can carry on where you left off.

Also, God knows how they choose their ‘news’ sources, but I’m forever having to ‘mute’ random ‘channels’ they inject ‘because my interests’ which usually turn out to be fake news from some random Indian tech blog that can’t even string a sentence together… but they always somehow manage to drag up more. But mostly, I can’t put up with the shit UI because there just isn’t one to speak of.

Funnily enough, the one thing that the now too-obnoxious-to-use Flipboard actually does excel at is filtering out crap you don’t want to see. Like, clicking on some inane story about some inane Game of Thrones storyline teaser and saying ‘Less Like This’ asks me with really quite fine grained control what exactly I’m not interested in: Game Of Thrones? Or TV Series? Or TV? or Entertainment? or Social Marketing? Or mashable.com?

But that still doesn’t warrant putting up with obnoxious 3/4 page fucking looping gifs of fucking Boris Johnson or our butt ugly Prime Minister on every other story, while the average article summary is about 7 words that cuts off mid sentence, meaning the only way to read the article is to go to the original source site in a browser anyway! So basically, Flipboard have literally designed their way to making their app pointless. Amazing. Shame. It used to be a really good app.

On that note, and assuming anyone ever reaches the end of this rant, does anyone have a recommendation for an app or site to read the news that I am interested in that isn’t utterly obnoxious? Because I’ll be fucked if I can find one.

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