Facebook and the Silent Bob Effect

Another brilliant blog post on the algorithms that shape our online conversations and interactions “mysteriously”.

You are likely to get a “boost” in the shares if you conform to a certain ideology or the company decides to “verify” your posts based on the time spent on interactions. I call them the “whales” of the network- they get disproportionate attention as well as exposure through the algorithms.

In the beginning of 2018, Facebook announced changes to the way their news feed algorithm worked. They claimed the changes were to encourage more meaningful interactions, such as comments and conversations, over scrolling and liking. Facebook claimed they were interested in people spending more meaningful time on their site, even if it was less overall time3.

These changes were most likely in response to Facebook’s data leaks. Although Facebook tried to alleviate concerns with press releases about algorithm changes, they offered no real insight or transparency into what those changes really involved. Twitter’s algorithms are equally mysterious. It could be argued that secret algorithms are necessary for spam prevention or to prevent certain interest groups from gaming the system. However, even if that were so, none of the big social networks offer any degree of control on how posts are ranked.

Most of the channel owners on Facebook are aware of this niggling button:

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Of course, Facebook has bills to pay! They earn money from this revenue.


Here’s one more interesting quote: Within our real-life social circles, many of us tend not to reward those who constantly prattle on or seek to continually be the centre of attention. It will be interesting to see if such behaviours become more prevalent, as on-line social media bleeds out into our everyday lives, or if people will turn their back on the tactics of social media, in the same ways we ignore those who simply never shut the hell up.

Highly recommended read!


via Facebook and the Silent Bob Effect