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Facebook Now Using Natural Language Processing

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the skynet-enters-rem-sleep dept.

Cloud 66

An anonymous reader writes "Facebook has added a new type of story to its News Feed today: if more than one of your friends post about the same topic, and it has a Page on the social network, the posts will be grouped under a Posted About story, even if your friends don't explicitly tag the Page. It turns out Facebook is using natural language processing on status updates as well as the headlines of posted links to figure out if a topic mentioned has a corresponding Page, and then searches to see if your other friends have done so as well."

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66 comments

Back to Usenet? (4, Interesting)

zmughal (1343549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028452)

So, now that we can correlate what people are talking about to topics, can we get proper threading? The code doesn't work in some overloaded cases such as categorizing the phrase "Big Apple" under "Apple, Inc.".

Re:Back to Usenet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029236)

Nah, it is fast-forward to the other NLP. The one that has "programming" in it ;)

Re:Back to Usenet? (1)

blackair (1967466) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035478)

exactly, they need to allow people to explicitly tag the item if they want it to a useful design feature

Who uses FB anymore anyway? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028464)

Google+ is the future.

7 friends posted about "Google." (1)

crow (16139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028488)

I saw a bunch of posts mentioning Google being grouped together, which seemed silly.

Re:7 friends posted about "Google." (2)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028822)

I've yet to see it work well. It grouped a tonne of posts together that had wikipedia links for no reason other than wikipedia, and in another it gouped a bunch of posts together about australian electronic musician Tomas Ford together, then decided it was about Ford Motorcars (which apparently has deeply annoyed the somewhat anticorporate musician right off)

Natural language? (4, Funny)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028516)

Now if Facebook could only get posters to actually post in some sort of readable "natural language."

Re:Natural language? (-1, Troll)

dvdwholesale3 (2432850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028962)

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Re:Natural language? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37029028)

That's going to be offered when FB merges with Microsoft later this year. Among the benefits for users will be automatic red squiggly lines under 68.4% of their words, and a compulsory AI comic book character (licensed from Marvel) to offer timely wording suggestions, like "it's clobberin' time" and "my spider-sense is tingling!".

Re:Natural language? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37030672)

That'd be AWESOME!

Just imagine it: when 30+% of your words are misspelled you hear "You're making me angry..", then at 50+% you hear very loudly "HULK SMASH!!11", and Hulk goes on a rige-induced violent rampage, destroying first your UI elements, then actual installed applications and games, then all of your files.. you'd better be a really fast learner and start fixing those misspellings or your PC wouldn't be useable for long!

Re:Natural language? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37031062)

So... I can't delete my FB profile but my cat can?

image replies (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028588)

can Zuckerberg pull his hands out of his ass for a few minutes and allow image replies to posts? every bbcode html and *chan board has been able to do so since forever

Re:image replies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028614)

Nope. This would require all the images to be hosted on Facebook (they seem to have a "no external links" policy), which would suck.

It would also make your news feed (if you have one) look like the bastard child of *chan and Myspace (assuming that they allow animated gifs).

Re:image replies (4, Funny)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028826)

Wait, you want Facebook to become *more* like 4chan?

*shakes head*

Re:image replies (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028992)

Wait, you want Facebook to become *more* like 4chan?

You mean become less creepy?

I'm not sure Facebook would survive the loss of users that would occur if the level of discourse there was raised to that of 4chan.

Re:image replies (1)

Rizimar (1986164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37029382)

Wait, you want Facebook to become *more* like 4chan?

You mean become less creepy?

Yeah, because Facebook is missing that non-creepy atmosphere that 4chan has. You know, that site that popularized such things as Pedobear and shitting dick nipples.

Re:image replies (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37029734)

You know, that site that popularized such things as Pedobear and shitting dick nipples.

I'm sorry, but Facebook is still creepier. You expect goofy kids and outcasts to do goofy things.

Nobody expects Facebook's level of creepiness. Until it's too late.

Re:image replies (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031034)

Nobody expects Facebook's level of creepiness. Until it's too late.

I noticed the creepiness as well. Can't put my finger on it. You?

Re:image replies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033600)

Put your finger in my fingerbox instead.

Re:image replies (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37039540)

I think it has something to do with other people.

I'm looking into a system similar to Facebook, but which works offline. I think that's the solution. No need for the network layer at all.

I think it's called a "diary".

Re:image replies (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37029088)

You have to admit, it would be a lot more interesting. Soccer moms meet /b/ - the possibilities are endless.

Re:image replies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029638)

You have to admit, it would be a lot more interesting. Soccer moms meet /b/ - the possibilities are endless.

Not sure if Rule 34 or Rule 35.

Don't much care. *fapfapfap* :)

YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029256)

YES YES YES YES YES

Re:image replies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029584)

I am Facebook-free since February 2004, am glad about it, and will continue to keep it this way.

Re:image replies (1)

esquizoide (834082) | more than 2 years ago | (#37029034)

I think it's already implemented. If I post a link to an image as a reply, facebook shows me a nice thumbnail.

Now there's an opportunity... (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028612)

Bonus points to whoever registers under the name Fruit Flies and goes on to like A Banana.

Re:Now there's an opportunity... (1)

Yuke!Yuke!Marina (587270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028646)

Time Flies- likes An Arrow

Re:Now there's an opportunity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028888)

How about this one: https://www.facebook.com/pages/the-cock/120709167943468

Not a win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028622)

This is an incredibly annoying "feature" and I can find no way to turn it off. Though the words in the posts were related, the posts definitely were not, and taking the posts out of their natural time order made the wad disruptive and confusing..

Re:Not a win (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032676)

It's beyond annoying- it will deter me from posting things I otherwise would, when the content is critical of the subject. Every time I tell my friends about the latest idiotic thing Sarah Palin [thefreedictionary.com] or Donald Trump [reference.com] say and why only an ignoramus could believe that, it'll link to their pages. I don't want those halfwits to get credited as being relevant just because I share a laugh with my friends, and I certainly don't want to be related to her even if only by hyperlink.

What would be reasonable is If possibly-related-pages were recommended to me, where I could choose to link to a page of my choosing [youtube.com]. I'd be glad to have that ability (as well as the option not to use it). This is of course regardless of who is implementing it- I wouldn't want Google forcing unwanted semantics on my content either. Luckily, Google at least recognizes that my content is actually mine, so there's some hope there.

Now if only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028638)

Slashdot editors could post using NLP.

emo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028640)

Does this mean that every one of my 'friends'' posts that equates to 'oh poor me, FML' will be consolidated and appear under the same thread so I can just ignore it all in totality? That would be fantastic.

Commenting (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028678)

I'll see ya'll on Google+!

Not NLP (5, Insightful)

Psycizo (776693) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028716)

Facebook told Inside Facebook that its natural language processing doesn’t detect sentiment, how a Page’s name is being used, or whether the mentioned Page was actually the focus of the update. Page owners may not like Facebook linking to their Page if a post isn’t actually what a user was discussing or if it is being talked about negatively.

That makes it a keyword search. Natural Language Processing implies that it intelligently parses the text to locate the topic, this is Dumb Processing.

Re:Not NLP (1)

19061969 (939279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37029208)

Except when dealing with synonyms. A page which uses only the word 'cars' to refer to cars will not be matched to a page that only uses the word 'automobiles' to refer to cars with keyword search. I'm not saying FB does this but synonymy is a well known problem (with solutions) in information retrieval.

Re:Not NLP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37036608)

doing lookups in an electronic thesaurus/dictionary (e.g. wordnet) is not NLP.

Re:Not NLP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029922)

first band name will be DEAF CALCULATOR -- album will be Dumb Processing

sadly, it's obviously not NLP but people are misinformed and HOLY UNITY IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE FACEBOOKCOM BECOMES SELF_AWARE

I don't think Facebook actually called it NLP so it's really not fair to call it dumb processing -- it's not anything really -- just another part of a massive tentacle-like web application loosely tied together with the idea of a "profile." If anything, the average user of FB will probably enjoy being able to see that I, too, like turtles

Birthdays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37028768)

I noticed it was grouping birthday posts these days.

Unnatural Security? (1)

cabbi (171239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028790)

Anyone know why Facebook removed the default https security setting? Logging on is now insecure by default. You have to dig into your configuration options to reactivate it. Whats up with that?

LaTeX (4, Insightful)

lahvak (69490) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028852)

If I and several of my friends have a discussion about LaTeX, I wonder which page will it get associated with. Or vice versa.

May result in some amusing situations.

Re:LaTeX (1)

mosseh (1014255) | more than 2 years ago | (#37030752)

Yeah, try searching for LaTeX (books) on Amazon. That must have caused some serious aggravation for non-techies.

Re:LaTeX (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034826)

I think Amazon needs to tweak THEIR processing a little bit...

From my search for "Latex":
| "Sweet Dreams, Honey Bear: A Hand-Puppet Book"

Umm... yeah.

"the social network"? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028874)

When did facebook receive exclusive rights to that name? Just because a movie was made about it under that name does not mean there is no other social network on the planet...

Re:"the social network"? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028940)

It's called a pronoun, moron.

Re:"the social network"? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#37029764)

Well, it's not a pro-form, so it's not a pronoun. But it is an anaphora, which is probably what you meant. :-)

In any case, it's clearly referential and the antecedent is unambiguous, unless you're trolling. :p

Re:"the social network"? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028958)

When did facebook receive exclusive rights to that name? Just because a movie was made about it under that name does not mean there is no other social network on the planet...

You were referring to "the social network" but I can't quote the title of your message (well, not lazily, anyway).

Nobody said it was "THE" social network. The fragment "the social network" obviously refers back to the start of the sentence where Facebook is referenced as the subject. So, the fragment is saying that Facebook is a social network; which it is. Your whole post disregards context and makes an assumption based on disregarding that context. Are you a journalist?

Re:"the social network"? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37030744)

And I'm wondering why "Page" is capitalised throughout. Has Facebook trademarked the word "Page"? Is a Facebook "Page" different to any other web page?

this could go so wrong (2)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37028902)

There are a lot of existing examples [bspcn.com]

Story: One toddler dead, another critical after house fire.
Ad: Burn, baby, burn!

The inevitability of inappropriateness... can ya feel it?

gucci handbags on sale (-1)

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Re:this could go so wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029174)

That's the thing I truly love about progress that no marketing turd would ever dare admit to.

Progress is chaotic neutral. The Bomb, The Space Race, The Internet... these things are all qualitatively neutral entities. The fact that they all depend on human factors makes them essentially chaotic, like the weather.

Marketing dingleberries will harp on and on about how newer things are better because this new thing of theirs is new. The awful truth is that there is no such thing as progress, just more wrinkles in this morass of humanity. If we don't like it we'll use it how we see fit, and turn your useless product into a late term abortion.

Anything on the internet that has no downside is behavior modification, and I won't have it.

Go ahead facebook, observe me. I'll make sure you don't like what you see.

I want to be stereotyped. I want to be classified.

Free Press Release Distribution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029162)

Most Facebook users I know don't use anything resembling natural language.

OK FaceBook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029250)

What kind of Evil Shit (tm) are you doing to us today and how do we opt-out this time?

Foundation Quadrology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37029892)

Step 1: read slashdot as a teenager, become interested in computers
Step 2: go to university, learn about the dark arts of digital calculation
Step 3: come back to slashdot, feel intense heartbreaking sensation when people misuse research buzz words
Step 4: hit F5 =)

Not natural language processing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37031588)

It doesn't perform lexical decomposition so I call BS on the title. It is just plain keyword search and nothing that deserves a slashdot submission.

One More (1)

Hamfist (311248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032024)

Reason to not use Facebook. Where is the assumption that I want to be grouped in with some off the cuff remark made by friend 1871. Who is that guy and why is he on my Facebook anyway? I should do some defriending soon.

Privacy? (1)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035352)

How am I the only person upset about the issue at hand here? I don't want my posts being associated with any person, topic, or page, unless I INTEND for that to happen.

Example: There are a lot of drug groups on Facebook and if I use my account to criticize drugs, what if the NLP accidently groups myself and my friends and tags our posts as "About Citizens for Legal Marijuana" or some such? The point isn't whether the AI makes mistakes, the point is, how does it know my posts ought to be About anything at all? This should be a user choice, not something Facebook bots arbitrarily determine. Now I should worry that mention of a book might become implied endorsement of some big-budget summer movie on my part? This is ridiculous, I don't ever think Google+ will take over social networking, but Facebook keeps this up and sure enough people WILL leave.
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