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Facebook to introduce AI-based article summary feature called TLDR soon: Report

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Facebook will soon launch an Artificial Intelligence-based feature called TLDR to summarise articles on other websites, according to a senior executive who revealed the forthcoming feature in a call to employees reported by BuzzFeed News. The feature resembles the businesses of news aggregators like InShorts, who post manually authored summaries of news articles, but this feature by Facebook appears to be an automated evolution of that. TL;DR stands for “too long; didn’t read”, something that has variously been used as an excuse to not read long texts online, or conversely, to provide a précis-style summary for less patient readers.

We have reached out to Facebook for comment.

Media companies may be concerned about the feature, as it might reduce traffic to their websites, and consequently, their ad revenue. One solution to this would simply be to pay media organisations off, something Facebook no doubt has the financial resources to do. Facebook and Google have always faced heat from news media organisations for their impact on traffic, so it will be interesting to see how this feature plays out. In response to revenue sharing legislation, Facebook indicated that it might resort to a ban on sharing news on the platform in Australia. In the UK, the company agreed to pay millions of dollars to news outlets in a syndication deal for a dedicated News section on its website.

This is apparently not the only ambitious-but-worrying leapfrog typical of Silicon Valley that Facebook seems to have on the cards. According to the audio of the meeting obtained by BuzzFeed News, Facebook will be leveraging a neural interface startup it acquired to build direct brain-to-digital interfaces for things like playing a video game or performing actions that would usually require the slog of physically moving one’s finger.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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