The history of Facebook’s News Feed and how it changed the internet

Mark Zuckerberg wants a fresh start. He’s betting his company’s future on the metaverse, imagining a world with AR glasses that seems lifted from the pages of science fiction. Meanwhile, the rest of us are still here in the present, struggling with Facebook and Meta’s powerful influence on the real world.

We explore the original source of that influence in the inaugural episode of the new season Land of the Giants, Vox Media Podcast Network’s award-winning narrative podcast series about the most influential technology companies of our time. This season, Recode and The Verge team up for seven episodes to tell the story of Facebook’s journey to becoming Meta, including interviews with current and former executives.

To begin, we go back nearly two decades to Zuckerberg’s first big bet: the creation of the News Feed. It’s a controversial origin story that shows the young founder’s initial vision for connecting people on a grand scale, regardless of the consequences. In this episode, we spoke with Ruchi Sanghvi, one of Facebook’s first engineers, who helped build the News Feed, which was not well-liked at launch enough to cause a widespread user outcry. “That was the first time we actually had a security guard standing outside the door to the Facebook offices,” she says.

We examine how, despite the initial setback, the introduction of News Feed paved the way for Facebook to become the largest social media outlet that it is today. It’s perhaps Facebook’s most impressive invention, and it’s now undergoing a massive evolution—a story we’ll get to later in the season.

First episode of Land of Giants: Facebook / Meta Disruption is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you have your shows.

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