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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

To DMP or not to DMP?

There are plenty of brands that can benefit from plugging into a data management platform. But should you engage an agency to run one or bring it in-house?

Ben Willee and Richard Taylor

Spinach Advertising

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

It is really inspiring to see that medial psychology & machines are going hand in hand to innovate new things and even are improving ...

CBT Professionals

How psychology is shaping better machine learning

Read more

Anything is achievable when you talk the talk .. good luck

Mo Al Hooti

Data Creative crowns Matt Bates as new CMO

Read more

Great hire and good luck Andrew. I am sure you'll do a fabulous jobRob

Rob

Amaysim marketing and commercial chief joins property tech investment startup

Read more

I need to be reborn before i can grow up & become a contestent.

Kaye Peterkin

Channel Nine's content now streamed digitally on 9Now

Read more

I hope The Block, will continue for many many more seasons.When i die, & grow up, I want yo come back as a contestent.

Kaye Peterkin

Channel Nine's content now streamed digitally on 9Now

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in