Facebook is Painting It’s Users Into a Very Small Box…of greatly limited people and information. Out of a potential 1500 posts that the average user may see in any given hour, that same user may only see 300 posts. Why? Because unlike four to six years ago when everyone first started using Facebook, the Newsfeed is no longer just an ordered list of every status update that every friend of yours has posted today or in the last hour or two.
Instead it’s a tightly controlled and manipulated feed of only a very small sample of what only a small fraction of a user’s friends have posted, because those brainy but inexperienced and naive engineers at Facebook with too much time on their hands and not enough day to day experience in the real world have created numerous algorithms that control what used to be a very simple thing: the so-called newsfeed, rendering it nearly useless as a tool to see what everyone you know is thinking or saying at any given time during the day or night — the PRECISE REASON why people use a social network like Facebook in the first place.
First came the idea: instead of the usual newsfeed that simply shows the user a feed of everything that everyone they are friends with is posting, let’s try to create an algorithm that sorts this data for then based on what they Like and what they Comment on and other criteria so they don’t get bombarded by too many status updates. Why? Because they assumed that people might become overwhelmed if they saw EVERYTHING that people were posting. So in 2011 they launched EdgeRank, a newsfeed algorithm to secretly sort through users’ Friends’ status updates, and didn’t tell anybody.
You probably noticed that you suddenly stopped seeing updates from a ton of friends. Or not. Many people never even noticed. Which is part of the problem. Aunt Sally just had hip replacement surgery but you didn’t hear about it for a week?!?! How is this possible?!?! Because Facebook decided FOR YOU that you didn’t need to know about it. So they deleted it from your newsfeed.
Since then, year after year, they have continued to hone this algorithm, creating ever increasingly invasive technologies into it to control more and more of what users see and read — in effect creating an environment where the user sees and reads less and less.
This week it was discovered that Facebook was secretly conducting an experiment on over 700,000 users across the globe — deliberately manipulating their newsfeed without their knowledge in an attempt to CONTROL THE USER’S EMOTIONS. Yes you read that right. Google that and look for the article in The Guardian magazine that came out June 14th. This is why the average user may only see 10 to 30 percent of the status updates that their friends are actually posting.
I posted a rant about this yesterday on FB, Tumblr and Twitter. Many had no idea this was happening. Some did and were outraged. All agree they just want to see everything that their Friends are posting — without interruption and without any filtering.
There IS a way around this. But it’s tricky. You can go to MORE. Then look for a link called Most Recent. Click on that and allegedly you will be taken to the old fashioned newsfeed. But in reality you are still seeing a greatly limited and manipulated feed that is still being controlled by this algorithm. But it’s better than what they are currently calling the Newsfeed, which is anything BUT a real newsfeed.
One friend commented that we can change this by selecting to receive Notifications from the Friends we choose — which means that every time they post something we are then forced to receive a notification on our phone about it. Obviously this will not work for those of us who have a lot of Friends or Pages we like. But at least it does assure we will be notified if Uncle Charlie passes away IF we subscribe to Notifications from Uncle Charlie.
This subscribe to notifications is great for getting notifications from a few folks, but we have to be careful with it for sure or we’ll be bombarded w too many of them. I’m referring specifically to the general newsfeed, which should, by definition, just be a collection of status updates in a feed by every single “friend” we have in the order they were posted to FB.
Unfortunately as with many companies that grow large and continue on longer than they originally anticipated FB found itself having a lot of time on its hands and decided to start screwing around with this simple obvious elegant & useful system; so much so that they’ve now created a variety of algorithms that control each person’s newsfeed based on a variety of seemingly random criteria that it’s challenging for the average user to just see the old fashioned simple ordered newsfeed that we were first reared on and assume is still operating.
Problem is, it’s not.
I knew this… but didn’t pay much attention to it. Till yesterday when I became curious about not seeing enough posts from DIFFERENT people about the World Cup and other things. I kept seeing posts by the Same 10 to 20 people. Even though Princess Little Tree will be sitting right next to me and say “oh look what so and so just said on Facebook…” . But I would NOT see it. But hold on… Aren’t we looking at the same newsfeed of the same people?!?!
Frankly I was pissed and shocked when I deliberately went to More/Recent Posts and the whole newsfeed changed. BAM!!! There are all the hundreds and thousands of status updates of everyone I’m friends with, in order of their posting! Imagine that! Names I hadn’t seen in weeks and even months. I was like “wow! Yeah what ever happened to so and so?!?” Actually YOU for example. Whoever you are, reading this… I Haven’t seen a post from YOU in ages! Maybe a year! Not kidding.
Basically FB for some unknown (seemingly random until this new information leaked that they were conducting MIND CONTROL EXPERIMENTS on users) reason has all of us crammed into these tiny little boxes of very limited people and data — compared to what our real FB experience SHOULD be like. What it used to be like. What twitter for example is like — we see EVERY post by EVERYone we follow. Simple elegant useful. It may be a pain to scroll through all those thousands of Tweets… BUT it’s OUR pain and WE can control it. FB thinks it’s “helping its users have a better experience” by limiting what how and when we see. But what they’re really doing is taking control of our social network and thus our lives.
In today’s age most people do nearly everything online. If my prediction from 2007 continues to manifest — that in the near future Facebook will become ever increasingly embedded into our day to day life, eventually making it’s way into our desktop and controlling our mobile devices and our social calendar etc. — then we cannot allow Facebook to believe that THEY can control anything about our profile or our newsfeed. All aspects of these need to be in the control of the user and the user only. No algorithm. No mind control experiments. No sorting based on what THEY consider “relevant data”.
It’s bad enough that they have this completely bulls*^t policy to NOT allow 90% of Page updates to appear in newsfeeds unless the page PAYS them. That can be justified because many Pages are for profit businesses and updates “can be” viewed as advertising… Got it. So the average user can NOT and does not have a way to see status updates from FB pages. Unless they GO to every single page they Like every day etc. An experienced relatively intelligent well rounded person may Like a couple hundred Pages after a year or so on FB, so that makes that impossible. Meaning? Facebook Pages are essentially useless to both the Page owner AND the Facebook user. They’re like old fashioned entries in the old fashioned Yellow Pages now. Placeholders for a brand. But not day to day relevant in the here now. Because nobody sees what they post. Totally ass backwards and worthless.
And now they want to do that with people too. Then what’s the real USE of Facebook?!?! Think about it… If we cannot even guarantee that we will see what one of our best friends just posted on Facebook two minutes ago because Facebook has decided that it’s “not important” for us to see, then what good IS Facebook?
THIS is what happens when companies become too large and have too much time on their hands. They take something simple and useful and kill it by fiddling with it too much. It happens time and time again throughout human history. It’s a shame. But a harsh reality. And certainly no fault of the users or consumers. The only thing that the well informed and self determined user can do is FIND ANOTHER PRODUCT that suits our needs and desires better. Which is exactly what happened to MySpace and before that Friendster — for let us never forget: Facebook wasn’t a cool unique new or innovative idea. It was just a copy of a copy of a copy that happened to take off with the general public. Just as Tumblr was a copy of Facebook. Why on earth someone thought it was a valuable endeavor to take the time and energy to create a copy of Facebook (and then someone else thought it was valuable to then BUY Tumblr…) god only knows. But that’s another story.
The point is that Facebook has now emerged as the official enemy of the very users that it originally set out to try to entertain and serve. It’s one thing to be so bored that you start fiddling with your widget to the point that you render it useless or too confusing to the average user, i.e. these ridiculous newsfeed algorithms. It’s another thing entirely to knowingly conduct mind control experiments on your customers and be so bold and confident to then admit it, assuming that propel so love your product that there won’t be a backlash.
Surely there will be a backlash. What needs to happen is that every single person who uses Facebook on earth needs to choose a FACEBOOK BLACKOUT DAY to demand that Facebook commit in writing to never conduct mind control experiments on it’s users again. And while they’re at it they should abandon the Edgerank and any other algorithms they use to control users’ newsfeeds. These should be OPTIONAL. Not default.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone 8s Custom