Facebook focuses on conversation quality with Branch buy

The world's largest social network wants to improve the content you see in your News Feed, and that includes discussions.

If one of your crazy relatives has ever posted an epic political rant on Facebook, you know that conversations on the social networking site can quickly spiral out of control. You can't take a conversation elsewhere--like off your relative's page, for instance--or start your own subthread. But Facebook has just bought social discussion start-up Branch with an eye toward developing a new product that will--hopefully--change how we talk to each other on Facebook.

Branch founder Josh Miller announced Monday that his eight-person team will join Facebook to form a New York-based Conversations group. The group's mission: "Build Branch at Facebook scale," Miller wrote in a Facebook post. Branch is a private conversation platform that launched in mid-2012 as a way of spinning Twitter banter off into longer, more serious discussions. The invitation-only platform allows users to control the conversations they start, a feature that would be useful on Facebook.

Last year, Branch launched a website and iOS app called Potluck, a self-described "stress-free social network" that lets you post and comment on links. That's it. The app is designed to serve up bits of news and let you meet new people "without being creepy," Miller said at Potluck's launch last June.

Branch and Potluck are about having conversations with friends and with strangers based on thoughtful discussion topics or interesting bits of news. Facebook is trying to diminish the popularity of listicles and memes and boost the quality of the content you see in your News Feed. The social network is also encouraging its users to be more public, removing the option to be hidden in search results and allowing news organizations to embed public conversations on their own sites.

Branch has experience luring news organizations to its platform, and Potluck is built on the concept of sharing news on a mobile app, which both fit nicely with Facebook's current mission. Miller said both services "will live on outside of Facebook," but that doesn't seem very likely given Facebook's track record of bringing its acquisitions entirely into the fold (except, most notably, for Instagram).

Miller said more details about Branch's role at Facebook are forthcoming.

More Facebook news

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Is AI on course to take over human creativity?

Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

Are you leading technology changes or is technology leading you?

In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Disruption Down Under – What’s Amazon’s real competitive advantage?

Savvy shoppers wait in anticipation, while Australian retailers are gearing up for the onslaught. Amazon’s arrival is imminent.

Oracle is toothless, it has zero. They don't understand what AI is.

Ilya Geller

Exclusive CMO interview: Where Oracle is heading with AI in marketing

Read more

The concept of liquid expectations is on the rise, and happy customer experience directly relates to the ease of finding a solution. Most...

Karanbir Singh

New digital trends report predicts a year of liquid customer expectations and design thinking

Read more

Great article, Thanks for sharing with us. I would like to recommended list of top customer loyalty software for small to large scale of ...

Matts Frigian

How brands are ramping up customer loyalty program spending in 2017

Read more

“We’re in an arms race for finite attention.”What a statement that is. I am so glad that someone of Steve's caliber comes out about the m...

Peter Strohkorb

Marketo CEO: Ditch the volume game, focus on value

Read more

Hello Greetings for the day. As I am also looking to stabilize gym with Hypoxi in india place called Delhi. And I have gone through your ...

Dhruv singh

Goodlife gets business ‘in shape’ with real-time analytics

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in