Facebook Wants to Use Artificial Intelligence to Summarize News Articles

Feature stories would be reduced to bullet points

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg speech
Has TL;DR gone too far?
Photo Illustration by Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

During a year-end all-hands meeting, Facebook executives unveiled a plan to launch TLDR, an AI-assisted initiative that would reduce news articles to bullet points.

The proposed summary bot, reported by BuzzFeed News, is named after the popular web shorthand for “too long, didn’t read.” The tool may also include audio narration and a voice assistant.

The news did not sit well with some members of the media, who are (perhaps and rightfully) mad at the social-media giant for decimating the online advertising business and spreading misinformation with little pushback. As well, the chance that this AI could pick up on context or tone remains doubtful.

“I feel sometimes like there is someone in FB HQ whose job is trying to come up with new ways of completely destroying any semblance of intelligence in America,” WNYC’s Editor-in-Chief Audrey Cooper tweeted.

Other highlights from the Facebook meeting include plans for a virtual reality social network (with avatars), a universal translator and a neural sensor to read commands from people’s brains, along with a larger commitment to use artificial intelligence to fight hate speech and misinformation … which hopefully but probably won’t go better than Google’s thwarted attempt.

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