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

5 things every business can do to drive brand loyalty

If you’re in any customer-centric role, you’ll likely be familiar with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) – one of the most popular tools for brands to measure their customer sentiment.

Catherine Anderson

Chief customer officer, Powershop Australia

What the modern gig economy is doing to customer experience

Most marketing theory was established in the context of stable employment relationships. From front-line staff to marketing strategists and brand managers, employees generally enjoyed job security with classic benefits such as superannuation plans, stable income streams, employment rights, training, sabbaticals and long-service leave.

Dr Chris Baumann

Associate professor, Macquarie University

The new data hierarchy

We are all digital lab rats spewing treasure troves of personal data wherever we go.

Gerry Murray

Research director, marketing and sales technology services, IDC

Thank you! That was useful to know.

Belia Adam

Why your best social marketing brand tool could be hiding in plain sight

Read more

Because you are missing the point of the term "disruption"

Sean

Uber for the truckies: How one Aussie startup is disrupting the freight industry

Read more

Absolutely agree with this ... Facebook doesn't care what adds they show. You report an add for fake news/scam and it just remains "open...

Quasi Carbon

Unilever CMO threatens Facebook, Google with digital advertising boycott

Read more

How to create Pinball game in 4 minshttps://youtu.be/S1bsp7del3M

Alex Atmavan

Rethinking gamification in marketing

Read more

True Local - one of the least credible review sites on the entire internet.

MyNameIsStomp

Former Virgin Mobile CMO and CEO joins oOh! as first customer chief

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in