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Facebook Introduces "Why am I seeing this post?"

Facebook ranking information

     
3:22 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Facebook has said it'll be introducing "Why am I seeing this post?" with the intention of helping its users understand more about the the information from friends, Pages, and Groups. In effect, this is about post ranking, and how FB works to put a post in your timeline.
This is the first time that we’ve built information on how ranking works directly into the app.

[newsroom.fb.com...]
I checked, and it was published 31 March.
11:08 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm more interested in what I'm not seeing these days. Zuck also posted an op-ed on how he wants to see the internet filtered and that was after saying that some of your friend's content will not appear even if you explicitely want to see it.

Facebook is being mighty political in their censorship of late, regardless of what they want to call it. I'm pretty sure people already know why they are seeing what they are seeing on Facebook(and feeling the political bias as well). I hear their political ad whitelist is now nearly entirely from one party, just how informed can you possibly be that way?

[edited by: JS_Harris at 11:13 pm (utc) on Apr 1, 2019]

11:13 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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And the member numbers continue to drop with a relatively light uptake in new...

Handwriting on the wall. And this does not help: [webmasterworld.com...]
11:15 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'd love to see a new non-biased developer create a new social platform(that is all Facebook is) with some great new ideas so that we can retire Zuck. I hope he hurries up too...

If I had just posted that to Facebook I'd probably be shadow-banned for some thought crime these days. He's not listening to his members anymore, he's listing to... someone else.

He's gotten rich enough with our personal information I'd say, policing political will is a bit much.
11:17 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@JS_Harris ... we might be reading the same book. Please don't tell me how the story ends!
9:17 am on Apr 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The problem with developing an alternative to FB (or other established platforms) is not technical, its overcoming network effects. I do not like FB. I use it because all my friends do. What will convince any one person to switch.

If someone does come up with an alternative that starts attracting users, FB will just buy it, as they did with Whatsapp and Instagram. If FB does not buy it one of the other tech giants will.
12:48 pm on Apr 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Facebook has said it'll be introducing "Why am I seeing this post?"

This has got to be an April Fool's joke despite:
I checked, and it was published 31 March.


First, let say they do roll this out, the information provided will be either very vague and essentially useless or outright false. This is in my view is a half hearted attempt at addressing their very really problem of filter bubbles. The problem is that their entire business model is built on filter bubbles, without them users will be less engaged, spend less time on the platform and essentially it will spell the end to the house of cards that is Facebook.

In addition to this there are two other issues that make this hard to believe. First, ultimately they do not know why they are showing you the post, their ranking algorithm is probably so jumbled and convoluted at this point that it will be impossible for them to even know what is what. But ok! I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, they do know, and now they are going to tell people why. The first thing that is going to happen is that SMO (Social media optimizers) will now start mimicking these "reasons for seeing" in an attempt to game the system, to the point of abusing the system.

I'm skeptical to say the least.

A side note regarding the political censorship, I doubt that FB has any real desire to censor an content but the filter bubble effect described above tends to amplify everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. As mentioned, they are unable to prevent the root cause, the filter bubbles, so instead they try censor their way out. The problem being is that what is good or bad is not a discrete dichotomy that can be easily classified as such. One person's good is another person's evil.
4:05 pm on Apr 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'd love to see a new non-biased developer create a new social platform


Surely we can dream, right?

Trouble with social these days is that it's a magnet for every crack-pot on the planet -- Both sides, I don't care, left or right, will always be found on social spouting off on just how ignorant they actually are about nearly anything under the sun. To complicate matters even further, here we have simple everyday words being maligned and distorted to the point of meaning anything that anybody wants them to mean. Important words end up having no meaning at all, and as a result, we see the free-for-all that social has ended up being.

I firmly believe that the devs of Facebook, in the very beginning, meant well - That they truly wanted to bring the world closer together. At the end of the day, however, these devs learned that controversy and hatred paid the bills, so that was the course they eventually took. There's no money in unity. Without money, social falls flat.

Forums and message boards from a historical perspective, have always been heavily moderated and controlled. These are people we are dealing with after all, and keeping it real is a full time job. Even AI can't do what actual humans can do with regard to moderation. In many instances, AI has created even more problems than it was originally written to solve. Platforms as large as Facebook shouldn't really be allowed to exist, but yet here we are, playing whack-a-mole in the ever increasing hostile environment that we have come to know as social.
Social needs to be compartmental - Each instance assigned to it's own demographic or region, coupled with real human moderators that use the dictionary as a tool and not a weapon.

I honestly don't think there can ever be a "non-biased" social solution on the internet - We can start out wanting the very best for everyone, but at the end of the day, it's the world itself that ends up dictating the terms.
7:17 pm on Apr 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@mcneely I agree with most of what you are saying.

Trouble with social these days is that it's a magnet for every crack-pot on the planet

The people using social media are everyday normal people. With normally distributed views of the world. On "average" the typical SM user likely has centrist view. People agree more than they disagree. The problem is that social media doesn't make money on the "average", nobody cares to see a photo of the piece of toast with peanut butter you ate again this morning. What drives engagement is a photo your brioche with poached eggs and caviar, or that your child nearly died because he sat next to another kid on the bus that ate toast with peanut butter. The result, the extreme view (left, right, rich, poor, righteous, devious, whatever... the extreme) bubbles up in your feed and that is all that one sees. Wait!.... people have been seeing the extreme for while, what was extreme last year is now normal. You want your post to be seen, now it must be more extreme than last year's extreme. Telling me why you are showing me another "extreme" post is not going to address the snowballing elephant in the room.

FB and others cannot back away from this nightmare, because user will become bored and then they will seriously begin to questions the privacy implications of the service and then leave, never to return.

I honestly don't think there can ever be a "non-biased" social solution on the internet

This has nothing to do with bias, there is "no" bias. The FB or others couldn't care less if your left, right, up or down. I wrote "no", because there actually is a bias. You set the bias, even if only a little bit, SM simply amplifies it to the extreme.

I would also like to point out that the "extreme" filter is not new. The news has been doing this for decades if not centuries, but at a smaller scale in far less effective manner. Every week the TV news cast reports about a another bank robbery that occurred somewhere in the state. Now we are under the impressions that crime is rampant. But one per week over tens or hundreds of millions or people is almost nothing. What the news cast failed to show was the reports of hundreds or thousands of banks that weren't robbed.

The problem with SM is that it has become so much more effective at filtering the extreme that it is now a serious societal problem.

I firmly believe that the devs of Facebook, in the very beginning, meant well

I fully agree here, I don't think that FB realized what it had created, the "extreme" filter was not designed, but it is side effect their recommender system. The problem is that it is the only real value driver of the company.