Facebook has recently announced two significant News Feed changes it’s bringing to the users. It adds to Facebook’s long going operation of “Make Facebook Great Again.” Basically, the company is trying to fix its reputation after the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The first ranking factor is that the social network will prioritize who are your closest friends. Then it’ll show relevant posts from those people. Second is Facebook will see what content matters to you, and you’ll start viewing posts based on that.
Now, this isn’t something new that we’re hearing. For a long time, Facebook has used its AI horsepower and tried to figure out the closeness and relevancy between its users.
For that, it uses different identifiers like how often people interact with each other, who they tag in their posts, in which posts they comment the most, and so on.
But in more recent times, it has started to conduct surveys. So, basically, Facebook is now directly asking its users who are their closest friends. Then it gets the chance to validate those answers against the data it has gathered over time.
Now, after hearing this, a person like me starts expecting that I won’t see any posts from those ‘just Facebook friends’ from whom I haven’t heard in years. It happened that just before I was about to write this post, I was browsing Facebook and saw a status update from an old college mate.
Facebook also assures that even if it knows who your closest friends are, it won’t be the case that your feed will be flooded with their posts only, or you’ll start seeing more friend content. But posts from such people could get ranked higher in your News Feed.
Talking about the second big ranking factor, Facebook again says that they’re trying to identify the type of posts which its users find worth spending their time on. And in this case, also, the social network is bringing surveys in front of its audience.
Facebook’s news feed changes won’t just be overnight. It will take some time for them to reflect in your feed, the company said.
I heard that. Now what?
A part of me thinks that as I said, these changes would remove less relevant posts and friends from my News Feed. But a part of me is also not comfortable with the fact that Facebook’s AI will now get to know even more about my friends and me. Especially now, because it’s asking people straightaway that, “Hey, tell me who your real friends are.”
Also, it might be unrelated, but all of this comes a week after we heard that Facebook hired a big team of humans to manually look into people’s status updates and photos without their consent. These people were assigned the task of sorting that data into different categories, which were then used to train Facebook’s AI.
A positive thing I feel is that the company is trying to fulfill some of its promises. Last year, it started the battle against fake news, and now, there is hardly any news story in my feed that I would find suspicious.
What else should Facebook fix? Its impact.
At last, an issue that Facebook should fix is the effect of social media on people’s lives. Probably, it’s affecting them way more than it should. And this was seen in the spine chilling story of a girl who committed suicide after she chose the option of suicide when her Instagram followers prompted her to do so via the poll in her Instagram poll.