Facebook is Broken
January 10, 2018 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Mark Zuckerburg recently said he would fix Facebook, but this cannot be done while retaining its current business model which is expected to result in at least $16 billion in profits in 2017 says John Batelle, who suggests the remote possibility that "Zuckerberg does the equivalent of dropping corporate acid and realizes the only way to fix Facebook is to make a massive, systemic change."

In "How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us," Roger McNamee contends that the "most important tool used by Facebook and Google to hold user attention is filter bubbles. The use of algorithms to give consumers 'what they want' leads to an unending stream of posts that confirm each user’s existing beliefs."

Allowing advertising targeted at these "bubbles" accounts for the recognized Russian election meddling (previously) and an American-led anti-refugee campaign "aided by direct collaboration with employees of Facebook and Google."
posted by exogenous (55 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 


I have to say that Globe and Mail piece seems like a very bad article. The random bits of research referred to really don't tell us anything at all about how smartphones are affecting our minds. I'm fully open to the idea that they are, but rolling a whole bunch of disparate ideas and studies into a scary but rather meaningless ball is just more clickbait.
posted by howfar at 2:31 PM on January 10, 2018 [8 favorites]


One of the major problems is the over reliance on algorithms to curate systems. We saw with the Facebook news feed fiasco how effective human curation is - and that algorithmic curation fails horribly. In fact, I really can't think of any algorithmic curation system that hasn't failed horribly.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:47 PM on January 10, 2018 [13 favorites]


Normally a corporation wouldn't move away from giving people an unending stream of what they want.

But Zukerberg has more money than any other human being, and he does control Facebook, so... maybe. He could if he wanted to.
posted by pracowity at 3:13 PM on January 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us

stumbled onto this yesterday via Facebook (thank you). About half-way in, you get this gem:

It reads like the plot of a sci-fi novel: a technology celebrated for bringing people together is exploited by a hostile power to drive people apart, undermine democracy, and create misery. This is precisely what happened in the United States during the 2016 election. We had constructed a modern Maginot Line—half the world’s defense spending and cyber-hardened financial centers, all built to ward off attacks from abroad—never imagining that an enemy could infect the minds of our citizens through inventions of our own making, at minimal cost. Not only was the attack an overwhelming success, but it was also a persistent one, as the political party that benefited refuses to acknowledge reality. The attacks continue every day, posing an existential threat to our democratic processes and independence.

speaking of the Maginot Line
posted by philip-random at 3:14 PM on January 10, 2018 [20 favorites]


Your smartphone📱 is making you 👈 stupid, antisocial 🙅 and unhealthy 😷. So why can't you put it down❔⁉️

Because they're stupid, antisocial, and unhealthy? Do I win?
posted by pracowity at 3:16 PM on January 10, 2018


But Zukerberg has more money than any other human being, and he does control Facebook, so... maybe. He could if he wanted to.

The only way to fix Facebook is to make it cease existing. Even if you miraculously change the business model to extract advertising from the equation, what is bad about Facebook is still what it is.
posted by brennen at 3:18 PM on January 10, 2018 [15 favorites]


About half-way in, you get this gem:

and then a little further on ...

I recommend that Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others be required to contact each person touched by Russian content with a personal message that says, “You, and we, were manipulated by the Russians. This really happened, and here is the evidence.” The message would include every Russian message the user received.

They could call it Cold Slap In the Face Day.
posted by philip-random at 3:20 PM on January 10, 2018 [24 favorites]


But Zukerberg has more money than any other human being, and he does control Facebook, so... maybe. He could if he wanted to.

*holds envelope to forehead*
Santa Claus, Batman, and Zuckerberg's sense of moral decency
posted by entropicamericana at 3:29 PM on January 10, 2018 [24 favorites]


Oh so are we meddling with content that he finds objectionable and rooting out explicitly anti- whatever content? What about anti-Zuckerberg content? Anti-facebook content? Anti-Advertizer content? There are ways to not only sanitize our content but force our exposure... what I am really saying is:

FAHRENHEIT 127.4.5.1
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:46 PM on January 10, 2018 [18 favorites]


what is bad about Facebook is still what it is.

As a microblogging service that allows me share pictures and news semi-privately with my mom, and not have to manage her losing her password or forgetting how to get to the site, it works OK.

As an automatically curated list of things I consider important or noteworthy, it sucks ass.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:04 PM on January 10, 2018 [33 favorites]


But Zuckerberg has more money than any other human being,
Actually, Jeff Bezos has more and he hasn't fully fixed the Washington Post. Still, the Grand Gazoos of Google are probably delighted that Facebook and Twitter have overtaken them on the Race to the Bottom.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:07 PM on January 10, 2018 [3 favorites]


an automatically curated list of things I consider important or noteworthy, it sucks ass.

It still blows my mind that anyone uses it like this. I want FB to just be a bubble because the only thing it's useful for is groups of people I very very specifically want to hear from. If I want a (very dumb and wrong) hot take about marginal tax rates, I'll read the Wall St. Journal Opinion page.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:19 PM on January 10, 2018 [22 favorites]


The only way to fix Facebook is to make it cease existing. Even if you miraculously change the business model to extract advertising from the equation, what is bad about Facebook is still what it is.

You know what's wild? Facebook allows people to interact with other people on an unprecedented scale. Take that at face value and that sounds great. The internet has always been about helping people meet and connect and share, and Facebook does that better than has ever been done before. The more people you meet and the more viewpoints you hear and consider, the more well-rounded you become.

Ideally.

But what actually happens is what is described in this article. Instead of interacting with all sorts of people, you interact with the people that Facebook thinks you like. Instead of hearing other people's viewpoints, it's yelling your own preconceived notions as loud as you can. Instead of hearing all kinds of viewpoints, you hear the ones targeted at you by assholes with deep pockets. It's because Facebook is so big that it attracts these people trying to exploit it to push their agendas. As long as Facebook is a big target this won't go away. There's no way to get rid of it because Facebook makes its money by letting people pay to have their message broadcast.

Facebook is too big to do anything but fail.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:42 PM on January 10, 2018 [9 favorites]


Huh. So. Check it out.

Conway’s Law states:

“Organizations which design systems ... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations."

The early internet was a place where you could find topics and communities and know that pretty much you’d stay in a certain kind of lane.

Let’s call that...”protected memory”

Then social media came along, and our communications structures were opened up so as to “drive engagement”. This meant that in a way, you still maintained a false idea of a tribe or community, a gated space kinda exists but really there are no protected lanes or topic based communication structures anymore. We’re all mashed together, and in return we close ourselves off into filter bubbles as a way to maintain the illusion that we’re protected by topic-based/similarly-minded gates.

The meltdown attack is an 8-10 year old architectural security flaw in Intel chip designs that “melts down” protected memory spaces, much like social media “drives engagement”.

So. I posit the following: Intel chip designers used Facebook too much, and following Conway’s Law, built chips which mimic Facebook.

Hahahahahaha. (I’m totally full of shit but this was a fun thing to ponder...)
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:27 PM on January 10, 2018 [11 favorites]


HIW ABOUT A CHRONOLOGICAL FEED WITHOUT EASILY GAMED ALGORITHMIC BUMPING?

And a pony.

Also ban the Nazis and bots doing the gaming.
posted by Artw at 5:31 PM on January 10, 2018 [35 favorites]


Also buy Twitter and do the same there.
posted by Artw at 5:33 PM on January 10, 2018 [4 favorites]


When people got their news from Google Reader and not Facebook, the world was a better place.
posted by Monochrome at 5:54 PM on January 10, 2018 [20 favorites]


Nice try, Zuckerberg. I'm still not voting for you.
posted by biogeo at 6:23 PM on January 10, 2018 [6 favorites]


Instead of interacting with all sorts of people, you interact with the people that Facebook thinks you like.

Man, people really have a different experience of FB than I do. I know about 50% of my Facebook friends IRL (flesh-friends??). Another 25% are mefites, and the rest are people I know from groups, mostly GBTQ. None of them were shoved at me by Facebook, unless you consider "two people with a mutual interest who have willingly joined a group for that mutual interest" to be some sort of coercion.

This is no different from real life. If you join a gardening club, surprise, you're going to meet other people into gardening. If you want to meet people different from you, go to a coal rolling monster truck showdown, I guess. When was this magical time in history where people were friends with all sorts? Our country has always had deep divisions, just ask people of color.
posted by AFABulous at 6:30 PM on January 10, 2018 [10 favorites]


The analogies to Standard Oil and AT&T monopolies are striking and valid.

I often picture several "great Americans" going through the 45 era and assessing how they'd react these days; my latest after reading the "How to Fix Facebook..." is Teddy "Trustbustin'" Roosevelt. And he would shit a fucking brick.
posted by knownassociate at 6:55 PM on January 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


Nice try, Zuckerberg. I'm still not voting for you.

If Zuckerberg has his way, you won't have to.
posted by rhizome at 8:25 PM on January 10, 2018 [3 favorites]


Man, people really have a different experience of FB than I do.

The "Facebook algorithm" isn't so much about controlling who you're adding on Facebook* so much as it is about Facebook deciding which of those X friends you've already added that you will actually see content from.

To see an example of this, follow the intsructions on this page to make a Friend Ranking bookmarklet. If you sign into Facebook and click that bookmark, you'll see a page displaying the "Friend Score" that Facebook has used for each of your friends on your friends list; this is approximately a rating of how close Facebook thinks you are with each of these people. It is one element of the algorithm Facebook uses to try to curate your news feed. Unless you have a really tiny friends list, you will not see any updates from the vast majority of people on your list—you can try switching from "Top Posts" to "Most Recent" to try to combat this, but this setting appears to fluctuate wildly, in my experience.

* Actually it TOTALLY is about this, too, but it feels like I much less pervasive part than the news feed curation.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 8:25 PM on January 10, 2018 [9 favorites]


I would love to see some real introspection and consideration on his part. And then I’d love to see him follow through on it, even if it threatens the bottom line.

But I feel like that is pretty much an impossibility. Which means this an empty gesture – it’s just about saying the right thing. Now he has a year to figure out how to tie up whatever bullshit this leads to in a nice bow.
posted by defenestration at 8:54 PM on January 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


Is it threadjacking to put a quiet pitch for Mastodon, The People's Glorious Social Network, here? No ads, no algorithm, just a sequential timeline on servers run by assorted queers, freaks, and nerds. And no Nazis. If you’re on Twitter then maybe consider going to the Twitter bridge to find out where your friends are, if they’ve gotten Mastodon accounts. If not then check out the instance picker wizard. or maybe even the instance I run
posted by egypturnash at 9:17 PM on January 10, 2018 [5 favorites]


> But Zukerberg has more money than any other human being,

Zuckerberg is only in the 70 billions. Bezos is already up over 100 billion.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 11:20 PM on January 10, 2018


"HIW ABOUT A CHRONOLOGICAL FEED WITHOUT EASILY GAMED ALGORITHMIC BUMPING? "

There's always Dreamwidth.org and Livejournal.com.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 11:40 PM on January 10, 2018 [4 favorites]


Former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder and CEO Social Capital, on Money as an Instrument of Change. A must see, via snuffleupagus.
posted by Chuckles at 12:12 AM on January 11, 2018


Unless you have a really tiny friends list, you will not see any updates from the vast majority of people on your list—you can try switching from "Top Posts" to "Most Recent" to try to combat this, but this setting appears to fluctuate wildly, in my experience.

As in, "no matter how many times one sets one's feed to Most Recent, Facebook sets it back to Top Posts, even in the same session."
posted by Gelatin at 3:08 AM on January 11, 2018 [11 favorites]


Succinctly, from MeFi's own Maciej Ceglowski:

Facebook in particular sells the ability to manipulate people from within their network of friends and family. It’s not fixable
posted by gracenote at 6:22 AM on January 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


Facebook in particular sells the ability to manipulate people from within their network of friends and family. It’s not fixable

If they are just using this info to serve ads, that's not really a problem, is it? Unless you regularly purge cookies or use cloaking, you're already getting targeted ads everywhere else.

I'm not on FB, my wife is, so i don't know a whole lot about it. My wife likes it for the updates from family and friends; she says she isn't seeing curated news articles... just ads and sponsored content, of course based on her browsing.

So - can someone describe the FB curated news feed thing that was targeted and manipulated by the Russians and others?

(jumping ahead a bit, I have never liked "curated" news feeds, they always seem to serve up crap. If Facebook has such a thing, can it be turned off?)
posted by Artful Codger at 6:41 AM on January 11, 2018


One well-known economic theory teaches that the purpose of business is maximizing profit for the shareholders

Or so said Milton Friedman. Someone has yet to explain to me why Facebook should be any different.
posted by Kwadeng at 6:47 AM on January 11, 2018




I use Social Fixer (a Chrome app) to make facebook default "most recent" posts. As far as I can tell, this doesn't help much.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 6:59 AM on January 11, 2018


I use FB Purity and I think it actually works to keep it at "most recent"? I only use FB for a couple groups and like 3 friends but there is a radical difference between what I see on my phone (no FB Puirty) vs my desktop (Purity set to, basically, "only show me posts by friends and group-members, in reverse chron order, shove your ads and shares up your arse.")
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:03 AM on January 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Most recent" still never actually gives me the most recent posts. It's more like rearranging the last twenty or so posts by the people the algorithm thinks I want to hear from. FB curation is annoying now because its system is so bad. It will be something to be extremely concerned about when it is developed to a point we start to think it's good.

I imagine a world in which a percentage of campaign funds are spent paying Facebook to promote friends' posts who have been profiled to have a favorable (but not alienating) view of the party. Fooling unengaged voters to believe more people like them have that particular political view than actually do. Or maybe a corporation wants to bury a negative news story about themselves and posts about them magically rank lower in the list of what Facebook thinks you want to see, or maybe you only see it from people they think you don't really like.

Social media manipulation for advertising purposes has almost reached maturity, and as the last election shows we are seeing the birth of using it for political manipulation. Something has to be done but for the life of me I can't begin to come up with what it would be.
posted by FakeFreyja at 7:14 AM on January 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


If you change your news feed to "friends feed" you'll see a lot more posts, in reverse chronological order as far as I can tell. That doesn't show your groups or pages, obviously.

FB Purity is highly recommended for getting rid of 99% of the junk you don't want to see.
posted by AFABulous at 9:05 AM on January 11, 2018


Man, people really have a different experience of FB than I do.

Part of Facebook's design philosophy is constant A/B testing and rolling out features incrementally only to portions of their user base without any real transparency as to how or why. If you get grouped into the "crash the FB app to test how terrible of an experience people will put up with" group you will have a very bad time time. If you get grouped in the "make people sad by showing them more sad items in their feed" group you will have a very different experience from someone who got grouped in the "show more happy stuff" group or the control group.

There is no shared reference point for "experience using Facebook" because each user is exposed to a different set of items based on constantly shifting, hidden variables and manipulations. You can control who you friend but increasingly FB is pushing the limits of how 'opted in' you need to be to see content to the point where you will now see items that are several degrees removed such as a comment a friend left on a page you aren't subscribed to or a post from a thing a friend of yours 'liked' but that you have no direct association with. I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere deep in each person's profile as a flag marking how resistant they are to this sort of manipulation—tracking how many times you reset to a chronological timeline, use scripts to clean your feed, use adblock, or lock down your feed using the customize and 'hide stuff like this" settings or post a status complaining about a new update and then puts those users in the last to get new 'features' bin because they know that those folks are the most likely to notice and raise the alarm if their feed is being tampered with.

I don't want to seem like I'm saying folks shouldn't post about how using FB Purity, or curating your friend list, or whatever else can help clean up your feed because that is valuable info but it's important to remember that those are band-aid fixes that are only accessible to people who use FB on a PC (lots of folks, especially poor people are smartphone only) and are tech savvy enough to install and configure a browser plugin which is not a big hurdle for most mefites but is for a many, many of people. Some people's FB experience is different because they make it different by actively resisting what FB is pushing and more power to you but most people have differing experiences because a decision was made for them to put them in a group to test how they respond. People don't just have different experiences because they use the same product in different ways, they have different experiences because in some ways each user is exposed to a different 'Facebook' each time they log on depending on what test groups they have been sorted in to.
posted by metaphorever at 10:34 AM on January 11, 2018 [8 favorites]


My experience with Facebook over the last several months has been one of constant, constant demands that I add people I they think I know (most of whom are completely unknown to me), celebrate friendships, view albums they've put together for me, and reorder the timeline in a way that I'm guaranteed to see old, old posts first, no matter what I do, supposedly because they're the most important. They've also several times shown me a button so I can schedule posts, something I do all the time on other pages that I manage, but then the button quickly disappears. I feel as if Facebook is trying to force me into some sort of nostalgia tour that I don't want, while never showing me my daughter's posts until two or three days later.

I can deal with the ads; I wish they would allow us more control over our own timeline. Also, Facebook is always trying to get me to like pages for events literally hundreds or even thousands of miles away, which I don't understand at all, and international soccer news, which has less than zero interest to me. So something is horribly out of whack and seems to be getting worse.
posted by etaoin at 11:07 AM on January 11, 2018


Every single social media system I have ever used has eventually gone from:

Chronological feed of stuff I have indicated I would like to read, in the order it was posted

to

Stuff, in some kind of inscrutable order, with no beginning or end

The former is useful, reviewable on a regular basis, and provides some value to my life. The latter is hot garbage, but apparently there's a very large number of people who don't give up in disgust when they get algorithmically determined shit like that and instead just scroll infinitely. But I've basically given up on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram because they have all gone down this road.

It bums me out that apparently the numbers of people saying 'fuck this useless crap' aren't large enough to halt the march of the terrible algorithms.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:51 AM on January 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


I use a free app (Echofon) to force Twitter into a proper timeline. Nothing like that exists for Facebook which is one of the reasons I deleted my account last year. Here's how:
https://www.facebook.com/help/250563911970368?helpref=hc_global_nav#
posted by exogenous at 11:57 AM on January 11, 2018


"Lactation consultants in Canada and the United States have begun noticing the prevalence of women texting and scrolling through their phones while they breastfeed, breaking valuable eye contact with their baby."

Okay, you know. It's wonderful to sit and nurse and stare into the eyes of your new baby and smell their little baby head and feel the love swirling around you. This is great for 1-5 minutes at a time. 2-3 times a day. You know how often babies nurse A LOT MORE THAN THAT. I refuse to feel guilt for reading on my Kindle at 3 am for the 27th time that day. We're giving up our bodies, let us give us something to our minds.
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 12:05 PM on January 11, 2018 [19 favorites]


But I've basically given up on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram because they have all gone down this road.

LinkedIn also. Why a search for "engineering" surfaces "associate at Hot Topic" I just do not understand. That the 45 day old non-relevant result that doesn't mention engineering and is rated 2 pages higher than 3 day old one for an actual engineering position at a "XYZ Engineering Firm, Inc." that requires an engineering degree and engineering experience and uses the word engineering 30-40 times represents a dismal failure of their AI.

Also, a "Sales Experience Engineer" that works on 100% commission and is for a magazine publisher and does not require any actual engineering education is probably also bullshit and not at all relevant to the search.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:06 PM on January 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Lactation consultants in Canada and the United States have begun noticing the prevalence of women texting and scrolling through their phones while they breastfeed, breaking valuable eye contact with their baby."

Wow, I'm sure no women before them ever read books, watched TV, talked on the phone, or talked to someone else in the room while breastfeeding.
posted by AFABulous at 12:36 PM on January 11, 2018 [20 favorites]


Re the main topic: Where it all began to go pear-shaped, in my admittedly second-hand experience, is when Facebook started trying to shape the social networks instead of letting them form only by the users' choices, the way it had been in all of the Web 2.0 world---the increasingly aggressive suggestions for "people you may know."

(That's what G+ calls it, and what I even more aggressively ignore. I'm old fashioned, dear algorithm, I only form connections with people I seek out and choose to and then only if they allow it. I only use G+, and previously I used Livejournal/Dreamwidth, hence the second-hand experience.)

Add to that the algorithmic "curation" of timelines, and it's the pits. There's nothing wrong with using Facebook to exchange pictures and semi-private news with your mother. That's exactly how I use G+, only swap "mother" out with "group of friends who migrated out of Livejournal _en masse_ . Even with that setup the stupid insistence not to allow an option to have a timeline that's, gasp, organized by time, gets things nigh-unusable sometimes. From what I understand, Facebook has turned that up to sixteen, not even eleven.

Re the breastfeeding derail: Oh yay! They've found a New Thing that Women Can Do Wrong!
posted by seyirci at 12:50 PM on January 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


Wow, I'm sure no women before them ever read books, watched TV, talked on the phone, or talked to someone else in the room while breastfeeding.

I watched all 5 seasons of The Wire while breastfeeding. And the 2012 Summer Olympics (the time zone difference was perfect for middle of the night feeds). Newborns ARE BORING.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:04 PM on January 11, 2018 [11 favorites]


Why can't facebook put an option in settings:

Overweight my feed with:
People who live in Belgium 20%
People who are 60% of the way to full MAGA 20%
People who have a disabled person in their family 50%
People who live in countries that the UN says persecute women 35%
People who are studying zoology 15%
etc. etc.

Because a) I DO want to get out of my bubble and b) I DON'T want a feed full of randos and c) I KNOW Facebook has the data to do this to an excruciating level of granularity.
posted by chonched out at 1:18 PM on January 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


I have put in a lot of work to make my Facebook experience more tolerable, including third party tools like Social Fixer, but I still wasn’t happy how I was constantly refreshing the feed and getting very little results, like a cat pawing the door inside an empty house.

So about a month ago I unfollowed everyone and everything. My feed is now completely empty. There is nothing to scroll. It is definitely an overall improvement. I visit the site a couple of times per week to check the events and groups, which for me are the useful part of Facebook, and haven’t missed the feed one bit.

A couple of days ago I noticed that Google app on my Android phone had updated so that it now had a news feed on the startup screen. I disabled it immediately.
posted by ikalliom at 2:36 PM on January 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


I too unfollowed everybody on FB, except for my wife and kids. Once a week or so I'll click through the "Friends with new posts" list and click through to their timelines to see what they are up to. I've reduced my time on FB 90%. Increased missing out on stuff 0%. Turns out people are still happy you liked their vacation photos, even if its 4 days after they were posted.
posted by COD at 4:14 PM on January 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


The moment that Facebook turned into absolute garbage was when, instead of the timeline consisting on posts from those I had friended, Facebook started littering my timeline with posts from people I didn't know whose posts my friends had commented on.

Almost overnight, my newsfeed changed from a fairly well curated list of people I knew posting things about themselves to a raging trashfire of bizarre assertions, links to news articles from disreputable sites, and garbage memes posted by "friends" of my friends - for all of which, my friends, bless their hearts, were trying to counter with links to Snopes or gentle rebuttals. Little did they know that their efforts to counteract the racism or misinformation in these posts were in fact amplifying that racism and misinformation... right into my timeline, and doubtlessly others.

Now, this wasn't breaking me out of my bubble politically, where I was presented with cogent but undesirable arguments from the other side. These were all things that were provably wrong or deeply misguided. Almost overnight, browsing Facebook had gone from feeling like an interloper at the world's most narcissistic cocktail party to being a guest at an acquaintance's Thanksgiving table, surrounded by my acquaintances' argumentative and arguably insane distant aunts and uncles.

I tried to get a handle on this by unfollowing people who I had reasonable affection for, and who themselves would post reasonable things, but who would repeatedly, inadvertently and unknowingly push garbage into my timeline.

Just as many of you can't understand why it's not possible to browse posts chronologically, I don't understand why it's not possible to limit Facebook posts to those directly from my friends. It's that simple. Until that's a possibility, Zuckerberg will continue to fail at encouraging reasonable discourse.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 7:19 PM on January 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


I EAT TAPAS, the Facebook Purity browser plugin might help with that. You can filter out lots of different types of content, including when your friends liked or commented on other people's posts.
posted by Pink Frost at 1:29 AM on January 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Facebook Finally Blinks and announces a change in The Algorithm such that it "will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed ... will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content, consistent with our News Feed values."
posted by exogenous at 4:14 PM on January 13, 2018


In some countries, Facebook’s fiddling has magnified fake news - fiddling like showing more stuff from your family and friends.

What I don’t understand is why the feeds need to be fiddled with at all. Can’t they just show posts from people I’m friends with, in reverse chronological order, with ads in-between those posts? What does the fiddling add to their business model? Why do they have to try to predict anything other than what ads I might click on?
posted by harriet vane at 3:28 AM on January 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Because they want to keep you engaged for longer. If your second cousin posts 53 pictures of her petunia gardening, are you going to keep scrolling or might you go do something else until there's more content you're interested in? Tech companies purposely make their sites and apps addictive.
posted by AFABulous at 8:26 AM on January 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


The moment that Facebook turned into absolute garbage was when, instead of the timeline consisting on posts from those I had friended, Facebook started littering my timeline with posts from people I didn't know whose posts my friends had commented on.

Almost overnight, my newsfeed changed from a fairly well curated list of people I knew posting things about themselves to a raging trashfire of


if nothing else, they're gathering data on chaos -- at which point does signal become noise and all that?
posted by philip-random at 10:12 AM on January 15, 2018


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