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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Data has the power to build or burn brands

A brand can be severely wounded by use or misuse of any of its assets and you could say data has the greatest power of all to inflict damage.

Lucy Acheson

Head of data strategy and customer experience, LIDA

Totto and your inorganic future

At Cannes Lions this year we’ve been treated to many artificial intelligence (AI) insights. It’s one of the major discourses of our time.

Richard Brett

CEO, opr

Personas of one and the rise of ‘always there’ marketing

I’ve got some bad news. The ‘always on’ marketing approach that many companies have only just fully implemented is already out of date.

Nigel Roberts

Founding partner and strategy lead, Yell

I am a new satisfied customer with the cryptodriven darkwebsolutions company, they helped me with a very efficient crypter for my company...

Yusef

The CX thinking behind Westfield A/NZ's new brand and digital identity

Read more

I enjoyed reading your article. It all starts from creating a persona of your ideal customer. Once you understand the needs then you can ...

Ardie Cash

4 skills needed for a marketer to sit on boards

Read more

A very prestigious list. Cant wait to see who ends up in this years list. Cheers!!

Diganto

CMO50 2018 is now open for submissions

Read more

Hi, where can I read about the results of the recent Salesforce Digital Advertising 2020 report? I would very much like to look at the an...

Milla Cross

Salesforce chief strategy officer: Why it’s a transformative time for customer service

Read more

I have had that scenario with the mail happen so many times! I never thought anything of it, maybe because I have become desensitized. I ...

Diana Da Silva

Data has the power to build or burn brands - Data-driven marketing - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in