Facebook’s algorithm that analyzes its users’ data is nothing new. The ads on your Facebook home page show what Facebook thinks you’d be interested in based on your activity data.
The news feed algorithm also watches your interactions on the site and figures which people you’d rather see on your home page. Essentially anything small/big thing you do on Facebook adds to the complicated web of data.
Facebook will now be observing both the likelihood that you’d want to see a post at the top of your home feed and the probability that you’ll share, comment, or like the posts.
Some people have mixed feelings on this algorithm. On one hand, choosing what you’d be interested in blocks out variety and the possibility of being exposed to something new or different.
On the other hand, people say it helps them sort through the garbage they would have scrolled by anyway and can help reveal relevant ads.
“I think it’s creepy because it feels like Facebook is watching me but sometimes it proves helpful because it helps me realize something I may want or need. It’s helpful yet very creepy,” says Brenda Alvarez, an avid Facebook user.
Facebook has been focusing on research that makes the software recognize photos and posts more like a human would understand them. One notable example is Facebook’s face recognition technology, which is being developed to recognize when you’re intoxicated.
Of course, Facebook collecting data on its users can be used for good. Mark Zuckerberg announced “Safety Check” on Facebook October 16th, 2014. This was to help Facebook users in a disaster zone to say “I’m safe” so friends and family are reassured. This was inspired by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. Safety Check was activated during the Paris attacks.
As Facebook matures, we’ll see how it’s deep learning capabilities is used. Good or bad, it’ll change how we experience social media.