We recently reported that Microsoft’s MSN News was doing surprisingly well, being the second most popular English-language news site, ahead of CNN and about to overtake the BBC.
At the time we noted this was likely largely on the weight of their Edge New Tab Page, new News and Interest widget pushed onto Windows 10 and 11 users and due to the AI used to select stories.
It seems all of these elements together is a recipe for a toxic mess, with a number of Microsoft employees taking to Twitter to complain about the quality of the news selected by Microsoft’s AI and pushed onto Edge and Windows users.
Some examples were posted which can be seen below:
The employees did not mince their words when complaining about the strategy of pushing “news” everywhere, saying it was “truly offensive to have this cr@p pushed on our devices.”
I think this view probably aligns with that of millions of Windows users, the majority who likely do not know how to disable the News and Interest widget or change the Edge NTP. It does not help that the service does not respond to feedback or remember when you ask it to exclude news sources.
Like Facebook’s algorithm, Microsoft’s AI clearly optimises for engagement via outrage rather than quality, something which has been accused of causing much of the polarization we are seeing in the world at the minute.
So while MSN is on the ascendency, it seems to be largely as a force for evil that even Microsoft employees are not happy about.
Do our readers agree? Let us know below.