Let me start by stating the not so obvious. The folks at Facebook are now officially very confused. Maybe that is not so obvious to many. But having been covering Facebook for awhile now, I think it is fair to say I am not confused about Facebook’s intention for users of Facebook
Why is Facebook confused? It is simple; they don’t know what to do about the News Feed or Timeline of users. They have just gone ahead to tweak it again to make sure ‘personally informative stories’ are priotized on users timeline.
You can read the full blog post here. But here is a bit of what they said if you don’t have the time to head there:
To better understand how we can show people the most informative stories to them, we talk to people and ask them how we can improve what they see when they check Facebook. This is our Feed Quality Program, which includes global crowd-sourced surveys of tens of thousands of people per day, as well as people who answer more detailed questions about what they like seeing in their feeds. We ask people through this Feed Quality Program to rate their experience. For stories that people rate highly, we then ask them why they enjoyed seeing those particular stories. One of the most common reasons people give us is that the story made them feel informed about the world around them.
Today, we’re making an update — adding another of many signals we take into account when ranking feed — to do a better job of showing people stories that they find informative.”
Please don’t get too confused with all that epistle. They are plain confused I tell you. The whole thing started when they disabled the chronological news feed for the algorithm timeline.
The end result for me was I missed a lot of posts from friends and family because Facebook algorithm (which in case you need reminding is a soulless bot) decided which post were more important to me. It begs the question of how Facebook determined what I really wanted to see.
Before this new tweak on the News Feed, there was a little storm concerning how Facebook was manipulating users News Feed. Facebook was basically accused of political bias in the stories it chosed to priotized for users.
So Facebook buckled and tweaked the News Feed; first to appear politically neutral, and secondly to show more posts and updates from friends and families first.
That was good for me in the sense that I started seeing updates from friends I even forgot were part of my Facebook contacts. You see, the original algorithm News Feed prevented me and many users from seeing these posts.
However, media houses, blogs and publishers did not like that because it meant users would see less of the posts from these websites. Fact is, many websites got most of their back links from Facebook as people tended to share news they read from other sites they found interesting.
Is it that Facebook was afraid of losing advert money by the latest retweaking to News Feed? There were rumblings from publishers and bloggers that losing a lot of traffic from Facebook would affect their revenue. And if that happens, Facebook would lose ad revenue too.
Though Facebook is not coming out to say they’ll be featuring more items from blogs and other news sites on News Feed, that is exactly what they meant by ‘personally informative stories.’
So once again, they are handing over what we see on our timeline to a bot. Once again letting a machine to pick what we would see on News Feed.
Facebook should just leave our timeline alone please. They should face more important battles for the sake of their users.
image credit: sagmat.com; forbes.com; digitaltrends.com; indianexpress.com