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Inside the Facebook Algorithm Most Users Don't Even Know Exists

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the no-one-reads-my-posts dept.

Facebook 130

First time accepted submitter catparty (3600549) writes An examination of what we can know about Facebook's new machine learning News Feed algorithm. From the article: "Facebook's current News Feed algorithm might be smarter, but some of its core considerations don't stray too far from the groundwork laid by EdgeRank, though thanks to machine learning, Facebook's current algorithm has a better ear for 'signals from you.' Facebook confirmed to us that the new News Feed ranking algorithm does indeed take 100,000 weighted variables into account to determine what we see. These factors help Facebook display an average 300 posts culled from roughly 1,500 possible posts per day, per user."

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Bubbles (5, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47607429)

Social media helps keep you in a nice little bubble, where you're never exposed to information you might not like.

Psychology tells us we(in general) don't like information that challenges our biases. Is anyone else afraid that Facebook and Google are unintentionally driving us all towards ignorance?

No conspiracy necessary: happy people pay more attention to ads(citation available if anyone cares), they try to make us happy, trying to make us happy keeps us dumb, and it all serves everyone's short term interests, and no ones' long term interests.

Re:Bubbles (1)

sideslash (1865434) | about 4 months ago | (#47607463)

Before anybody dons the proverbial tin foil hat, consider:

1. It is not possible to exert mind control over an intelligent and reasonable person simply by throttling their social media streams.
2. The "stuff you don't like" that it hides is more likely to be worthless drivel than desperate attempts of the suppressed Resistance to unify against The Man.

This is all speaking as an outsider -- I don't use Facebook and I can't imagine what would make me want to (to each his own, I suppose).

Re:Bubbles (4, Informative)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about 4 months ago | (#47607553)

1. It is not possible to exert mind control over an intelligent and reasonable person simply by throttling their social media streams.

See: Russia, Iran, Syria, China... need I go on?

Re:Bubbles (1)

sideslash (1865434) | about 4 months ago | (#47608019)

Those nations don't just censor social media streams (Twitter, Facebook), they also censor regular news media, web sites and public conversations.

Re:Bubbles (1)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about 4 months ago | (#47608159)

So... for what percentage of Facebook users is this also true?

Re:Bubbles (1)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about 4 months ago | (#47608171)

Sorry, to state this a little more clearly: What percentage of people do you think use facebook as their primary or only source of news? I'd bet the number is pretty high.

Re: Bubbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608651)

Not to mention, the active antiestablisment movement in China tends to deflate GPs pount

Re:Bubbles (0)

bonehead (6382) | about 4 months ago | (#47608505)

He said "intelligent and reasonable" people. And he was right.

It is, however, trivial to influence stupid and unreasonable people. And there is no shortage of those.

Re:Bubbles (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 months ago | (#47608691)

What are "intelligent and reasonable people", and what does it mean to "exert mind control"?

Because a lot of people like to think, "I'm a smart person. You can't just make me do things." That's only kind of true. All of us can be influenced through psychological manipulation. All of us can be tricked into forming incorrect conclusions based on faulty, incorrect, or incomplete information. If I can control what information you have access to over a long period of time, I definitely can have a big influence on what you believe, as well as how you behave. I can't "exert mind control" in the sense of completely controlling you to do any arbitrary thing that I say, but I can have a big influence on who you like, who you hate, what products you buy, what ideology you subscribe to, and what political allegiances you hold.

Re:Bubbles (3, Insightful)

znrt (2424692) | about 4 months ago | (#47608193)

1. It is not possible to exert mind control over an intelligent and reasonable person simply by throttling their social media streams.

yeah but it's hivemind control. hivemind oriented individuals are a majority, so hivemind control is actually a reality. and a pretty obvious one if you ask me. now for example you may not be buying this bullshit but it is your hive, and you can't escape: these hivelings may be your relatives, your friends, people you like or love. you screwed, bro. in other words: controlled.

of course the problem itself points to the way out. let's not despair!

Re:Bubbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608359)

"yeah but it's hivemind control. hivemind oriented individuals are a majority, so hivemind control is actually a reality."

No it isn't. No they are not. No it isn't.

Re: Bubbles (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 4 months ago | (#47608383)

You're a moron. Yes, you are.

Re:Bubbles (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47607469)

Will not any ranking necessarily be skewed towards eye catching posts? And who said that what is most eye catching is something you agree with and like? Rather than something you inherently hate and disagree with?

Re:Bubbles (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 4 months ago | (#47607485)

Social media helps keep you in a nice little bubble, where you're never exposed to information you might not like.

Same with slashdot, and most news sites. People find themselves in a bubble one way or other, unless they specifically go looking for other information

Re:Bubbles (1)

dantotheman (2887483) | about 4 months ago | (#47607491)

No conspiracy necessary: happy people pay more attention to ads( citation available if anyone cares ), they try to make us happy, trying to make us happy keeps us dumb, and it all serves everyone's short term interests, and no ones' long term interests.

Just curious; did it take longer to write that than to just provide a copy/paste of the link you had in mind?

Re:Bubbles (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47607539)

Because it would involve digging through multiple google scholar searches to find the paper I'm remembering on a few vague mental relationships, checking through several papers to verify that they are/aren't the one I'm looking for, and then dropping them, which takes longer than both that post and this one.

Re:Bubbles (1)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about 4 months ago | (#47607727)

Citation please?

Re:Bubbles (4, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47607769)

Positive Mood and Susceptibility to False Advertising [tandfonline.com]

Even though you're more aware of the fact that the advertising is false, you're still more likely to form a positive image of the brand as a result of being happy. I have, without being fully informed about "true" advertising, mentally extrapolated that to apply to all advertisements.

This idea is at least a little corroborated by this older study [jstor.org] which suggests happier moods implies a greater uptake on simple advertising messages.

Re:Bubbles (1)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about 4 months ago | (#47607939)

Thank you! That took much less time then me digging through the internet myself!

Re:Bubbles (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47608221)

Yeah, no problem. I just only wanted to engage in that effort if someone actually wanted the info.

Re:Bubbles (1)

weszz (710261) | about 4 months ago | (#47608211)

explains my 4 year old running around the house singing nationwide is on your side...

The girl is perpetually happy and heard that on the radio, never to be forgotten... along with the "fact" she told me about MLKjr.

He had a dream, then he died. like Jesus and great grandpa. well yea... but you're kind missing some important parts there... Jesus died in the crosswalk for us.

Re:Bubbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608833)

Jesus died in the crosswalk for us.

Those Jewish drivers are terrible, amirite?!

(Sorry, that was terrible. For the record, I've never noticed a difference in drivers' skills correlated with their religion.)

Re: Bubbles (1)

mattwarden (699984) | about 4 months ago | (#47607499)

Social media... You mean having friends with a similar worldview? Are we sure social media even makes this worse and not better? Most people interact in real life with very few people because it is expensive to do otherwise. Social media might actually reduce the problem by making it cheaper to interact with more people. Theoretically it could be just more of the same viewpoint, but as n increases, the chance that everyone agrees on everything is much less.

Re: Bubbles (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47607547)

No, we're talking about a filtering algorithm applied to your friends, where you don't see things that might be important to challenging you because it makes a small difference in your happiness levels(which, again, influence your advertising susceptibility).

I just wish ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607537)

I wish there was an up-arrow to increase your mod points.

I have nothing to add to the parent other than "well said!"

Re:Bubbles (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607659)

Is anyone else afraid that Facebook and Google are unintentionally driving us all towards ignorance?

No, because only a narrow category of people read Facebook. A larger set uses it to post, but rarely reads. And an even larger set either doesn't use it, or uses it rarely.

Facebook is big, but it's still niche too. In fact, for all its success, the irony is that it's a total failure and nearly useless (and to everyone, not just some people) as "social" media. (Not that it's useless, just that it's useless for that.) Facebook isn't social, its graph still doesn't mirror real life social relationships, and so on. They got a lot of good press but completely failed at their mission statement (well, the one the public thinks about; I think their real mission of serving ads, might still be working out ok). Even people who use Facebook regularly ought to have noticed that by now. It just doesn't work right for anything other than very casual staying-in-touch. And while we all have some relationships like that, 90%+ of your time is spent with totally different categories of intimacy (either more or less).

Re:Bubbles (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 4 months ago | (#47607739)

Social media helps keep you in a nice little bubble, where you're never exposed to information you might not like.

You don't like or they don't like? It is impossible to know the difference, and the latter is at least as likely as the former (perhaps more so).

Psychology tells us we(in general) don't like information that challenges our biases. Is anyone else afraid that Facebook and Google are unintentionally driving us all towards ignorance?

No argument with the first part. The second part I very much disagree with. Huge Businesses and Governments don't do things accidentally, and to believe they have all these "accidents" indicates that _you_ don't want your biases challenged. What you attempting to imply is simply irrational. Huge sums of money are spent on engineering strategies. Claiming anything was something "we didn't know would happen" means that they should fire every single "expert" on their panels and black list them from future hire. Except the later part does not happen, so they did "know it would happen". In fact they intended for it to happen, or they would have used a different strategy.

No conspiracy necessary: happy people pay more attention to ads(citation available if anyone cares), they try to make us happy, trying to make us happy keeps us dumb, and it all serves everyone's short term interests, and no ones' long term interests.

I think you need to (re) read the definition of a conspiracy. Do us all a favor and stick with the dictionary definition.

Re:Bubbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607749)

Social media helps keep you in a nice little bubble, where you're never exposed to information you might not like.

Really? Cause a good part of my Facebook feed are opinions I disagree with.
I don't have a large total number of friends on FB (they're all people I know in real life), but I guess they're pretty diverse: white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Mormon, atheist, Democrat, moderate, Republican, Libertarian, socialist, etc.

And I disagree. And we're friends. I assume that's more normal than you think.

Re:Bubbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608225)

I disagree. your feelings are wrong.

Re:Bubbles (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 4 months ago | (#47607779)

If you think Facebook keeps you in a bubble where you aren't exposed to ideas you don't like, you must have never been on Facebook. Try a day on my feed...

Flowers for Algernon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607915)

Happy people click on ads? So your saying that the periods in Charlie Gordon's life when he was most likely to click on ads was before his treatments and after they wore off?

Re:Bubbles (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#47607955)

"Is anyone else afraid that Facebook and Google are unintentionally driving us all towards ignorance?"

If Google+ actually is doing that, it has to do it quickly, before it gets cancelled.

Re:Bubbles (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | about 4 months ago | (#47608165)

Have you seen so-called "World News" with Diane Sawyer lately on one of the big networks?

It's embarassing. 3/4 human interest stories at least. Mostly domestic. A few minutes of human interest human interest stories.

Or when you watch the olympics. Very few competitions anymore on the networks. Especially not when foreigners are competing. And we need everyone's tearjerking backstory now.

It hasn't always been like this. People don't need social media to stay ignorant. Their own mass media does it for them.

Re:Bubbles (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608381)

This might also reflect the fact that more and more people get their in-depth news from the internet and watch TV news to have something on while eating dinner.

Re:Bubbles (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47608443)

Sure, there are worse alternatives also driven by advertising profit.

Re:Bubbles (1)

lorinc (2470890) | about 4 months ago | (#47608209)

You can think of it as a bias toward exploitation over exploration, which will inevitably leads us to a local optimum from which it will be very difficult to escape.

Re:Bubbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608303)

Also, resistence is futile. You'll end up being labeled crazy, I'll go ahead and send you a tinfoil hat :)

Bubbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608385)

It's beyond bread and cirucuses. This is population control. We already have Fox News and MSNBC to report biased news based on what people want to hear, even if it's wrong. People actaully think theres a difference between Democrats and Republicans. It's working.

That's not how FB works (1)

anyaristow (1448609) | about 4 months ago | (#47608597)

You might filter your news (in the conventional, informational sense) feed that way, but you filter your Facebook feed according to people you think are interesting. If you only interact with people who are like minded, and that's not unlikely, *you* are creating a filter bubble, not FB. But it's also not how people tend to use FB. You probably have some "friends" who post idiotic rants or divisive jokes, and if you ignore them you are training FB to not show them, but you might also hit "like" or comment on pictures of their kids or news of their vacation, telling FB that you are, in fact, interested in this person. The real trick for FB is to distinguish between the two.

The FB algorithm is a popularity-seeking thing. It's probably one unspoken reason geeks hate Facebook. Adding a bunch of "mundanes" to your friends list can be really humbling. Spoken from experience.

Re:Bubbles (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 4 months ago | (#47608615)

happy people pay more attention to ads(citation available if anyone cares)

Please. It seems logical, but I'd like to see some data.

Re:Bubbles (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 4 months ago | (#47608685)

Social media helps keep you in a nice little bubble, where you're never exposed to information you might not like.

And that's different from Slashdot and it's all-to-often groupthink driven moderation system... how?

Re:Bubbles (1)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 4 months ago | (#47608705)

I think that is generally the way people operate in the real world anyway. You could look at a broad category like 'men' or 'women' who have their broad topics of appeal, from an advertising perspective. But when you get down to more specific cliques like Mormons or thrash-punks, they are so segregated as to not be aware of each others existence. They have their own systems that, if they perform well in, will keep them feeling like happy, productive members. As someone who refuses to define myself in terms of a group, I get to see the differences and flit from group to group to observe the overall scope of humanity. I would think many people here would feel similarly. I don't think we have to worry about the behavior of people who identify with narrow groups and who are motivated by advertising. Well, we don't have to worry about it any more than in the past.

Human vs. crowd (3, Interesting)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47607453)

While each of us is as unpredictable as a molecule, once you put enough humans together, the crowd becomes as predictable as gas. Google, Facebook, Twitter, (/.?) and other companies with massive user bases can do some pretty interesting things with their users.

Whether it is ethical or not is another story, but it is certainly interesting.

Re:Human vs. crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607761)

I disagree with that, and I'm trying to remember where I read the study, because there was one. Individuals are extremely predictable. On individual, exposed to a particular stimulus will behave almost identically every time. Think about when you go to a restaurant, is there a small core set of items you always order?

Where unpredictability comes in is, without prior information on a given individual (past observations of their behavior), it is almost impossible to predict what they will do. But once seeing what they'll do, given a similar situation, you can be sure they'll behave similarly.

Re:Human vs. crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608239)

While each of us is as unpredictable as a molecule, once you put enough humans together, the crowd becomes as predictable as gas.

Yeah, as Hari Seldom has taught us.

No matter how sophisticated it gets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607457)

No matter how sophisticated it gets, it still starts you back at the top when you click on any entries. So, if you are ten clicks through the feed, you have to click ten times again to get back to where you were. How can something so "sophisticated" be some incredibly idiotic.

Because (5, Insightful)

heezer7 (708308) | about 4 months ago | (#47607465)

just showing shit in chronological order is too easy.

Re:Because (1)

werepants (1912634) | about 4 months ago | (#47607517)

Exactly. I wish Facebook would just leave it alone - I don't want "intelligent" delivery of the posts facebook thinks I want to see - I would rather see a true feed representative of the people in my social network, rather than some secretly curated selection based on inscrutable mechanisms that I have no control over.

Re:Because (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47607579)

Well I think the idea is that for 99% of accounts that is not possible. There is more content than you could ever read (1500 posts per day). So FB can either filter out the content based on chronology. Or it can take an educated guess like, he always reads, and often comments on John's posts, so instead of hiding them, we will put them right at the top of his feed when he logs in. And he had never even paused scrolling when confronted with a post from the official Coca Cola page, so maybe he cares less if we filter these out. I do not know about you, but I do not want to miss some major announcement for my best friend, simply because I liked coca cola and they posted 20 things after he made the announcement.

Re:Because (3, Insightful)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about 4 months ago | (#47607725)

The trouble here... and the reason I don't use facebook... is that just because I like coke, doesn't mean I "Like" coke. If I want to express my affinity for a product, that doesn't mean I want to be constantly marketed to by that company. Likewise, the sleazy practice of making someone like your product before you can see some kind of content (say a video for example) that has gone viral... but until you watch the video, you aren't sure whether you "Like" (or even like) the product/company... pisses me off.

Facebook operates under the pretense that it's a good way for you to keep in touch with your friends... but their quarterly financial statements argue for the fact that it is a good way for companies to market to individuals under the pretense of them keeping up with their friends.

Your description of the myriad ways in which your feed is broken and fails to satisfy you is a proxy for the myriad ways in which Facebook is making money off you.

Re:Because (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47608795)

You have control over that though. You can like something and mark as not seeing anything from it. And as far as I have seen companies have public profiles that never require likes to see.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607777)

That's their problem, not F-Book's.

Maybe if they would cull their friends down to people they actually know, and unsubscribe to the ones whose posts they don't want to see; it wouldn't be a problem.

Of course they can. (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 4 months ago | (#47608871)

Well I think the idea is that for 99% of accounts that is not possible. There is more content than you could ever read (1500 posts per day).

So FB can either filter out the content based on chronology. Or it can take an educated guess like, he always reads, and often comments on John's posts, so instead of hiding them, we will put them right at the top of his feed when he logs in. And he had never even paused scrolling when confronted with a post from the official Coca Cola page, so maybe he cares less if we filter these out.

I do not know about you, but I do not want to miss some major announcement for my best friend, simply because I liked coca cola and they posted 20 things after he made the announcement.

Here are the answers:

1.) sudo showeverypost. Think it's too much content for me to handle? You're welcome to believe that. Let me decide that, not Mark. If it takes me an hour and a half to sort through everything, then so be it. Either way, I won't see it all.
2.a) eHarmony style. I couldn't possibly send a request to everyone on eHarmony, so they ask me an hour's worth of questions to help filter the kind of person I'm looking for. Facebook could easily do the same thing, and it'd be worth some people's time to help curate it manually. Hell, include a specific section where I can explicitly choose the kinds of ads I want. You don't get much more customized than people explicitly telling you what kind of ads they will respond to.
2b.) sub-categorize re-posts. "Stuff from Buzzfeed", "Stuff from Huffington Post", etc. If they're directly categorized like that, it helps me see what's trending easier, while simultaneously clearing out stuff when I'm looking for stuff from friends.
3.) Auto-Sort. This is what they currently have now.

This is what Facebook needs to implement. Thus, they never will.

Re:Because (2)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 4 months ago | (#47607741)

Exactly. It's extremely annoying having FB pick and choose what I see. I keep my news feed on "Most Recent" all the time. But every once in a while, without warning, they pull the ol' switcheroo and change it back to what they think are the "Top Stories". No FB, I actually know everyone in my friends list and I like to keep with with all of them, not just the few I communicate with most.

Re:Because (2)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 4 months ago | (#47608113)

Exactly. It's extremely annoying having FB pick and choose what I see. I keep my news feed on "Most Recent" all the time. But every once in a while, without warning, they pull the ol' switcheroo and change it back to what they think are the "Top Stories". No FB, I actually know everyone in my friends list and I like to keep with with all of them, not just the few I communicate with most.

The article actually mentions this: that doesn't do what you think it does. All that does is sort the Top Stories feed in chronological order.

Users mostly rebelled against this because they peeked behind the curtain and realized that Facebook is indeed controlling the content we see. Naturally, Facebook placated the naive with a button that lets us view posts in chronological order. The illusion remains intact!

It's still the filtered view.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608369)

Exactly. It's extremely annoying having FB pick and choose what I see. I keep my news feed on "Most Recent" all the time. But every once in a while, without warning, they pull the ol' switcheroo and change it back to what they think are the "Top Stories". No FB, I actually know everyone in my friends list and I like to keep with with all of them, not just the few I communicate with most.

The article actually mentions this: that doesn't do what you think it does. All that does is sort the Top Stories feed in chronological order.

Depends on the app version you use. I still run an older version (like prior to auto-play videos) and the Top Stories and Most Recent views each show posts that the other does not.

Re:Because (4, Informative)

Andy_R (114137) | about 4 months ago | (#47607751)

Exactly, I've found that the only way to get Facebook to work the way it should work â" showing everything posted by people I know and pages I've liked â" is to install the FBPurity browser extension (from fbpurity.com) and to manually select 'receive notifications' from a hidden drop down menu when I 'like' a page.

The iPhone app just keeps getting worse, it does have the ability to show things in the right order, but it conveniently forgets that setting every time you open the app, and now the app has stopped showing everything after the first few characters when some sends you a message, begging you to install an extra app (but you don't need to, just open facebook.com in the phone's browser and you can read and respond to messages there).

Re:Because (1)

Tog Klim (909717) | about 4 months ago | (#47607521)

SO FREAKING TRUE!!!

Re:Because (1)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47607565)

Their argument is that they are trying to optimize for people who have hundreds or thousands of friends, thus pure chronological would be an unreadable stream of posts. People with smaller numbers who actually do want to see each post in order just are not on their radar.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607697)

People who CLAIM to have hundreds or thousands of "friends". That is the real problem.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607735)

There is a chronological order option, but it's hidden in a drop-down by the news feed link in the list on the upper-left portion of the Facebook UI. It also tends to randomly switch back to "Top Stories" mode as well as showing a little link for "back to Top Stories" at the top of the feed.

As expected, there is no long-term setting to appeal to those of us who have no interest in seeing the same story (usually an advertisement) at the top of the page every day for a month when I know my friends actually have other things to say.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607793)

The chronological order option still doesn't show all the posts. I keep my Facebook fried list down to just people I've met in real life and actually would care about (or in a few select cases, friends I don't keep much in touch with but who post interesting things), and even with that I'm missing all sorts of stuff.

I read fast, 1500 one or two sentence posts are nothing over the course of a day. Bring it on!

Re:Because (4, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 4 months ago | (#47607943)

There is a chronological order option, but it's hidden in a drop-down by the news feed link in the list on the upper-left portion of the Facebook UI. It also tends to randomly switch back to "Top Stories" mode as well as showing a little link for "back to Top Stories" at the top of the feed.

As another AC mentioned but I think deserves reiterating: that option merely sorts the Top Stories in chronological order. It does not show you all posts from all your friends. If Facebook has decided you don't want to see a post, you will not be seeing it. If they've decided you want to see fifty copies of various people posting some annoying Facebook quiz result even though you've hit the little "don't show me this" option a thousand times, well, you will be seeing fifty copies of that Facebook quiz. (After all, stupid Facebook quiz makers are important (paying) Facebook partners, and your friends are just more losers to show important (paying) Facebook partner content to.)

The only difference is that in Most Recent, they'll be in chronological order and not ranked by Facebook's "how much did the content publisher pay us?" algorithm.

Re:Because (1)

heezer7 (708308) | about 4 months ago | (#47608095)

I can even open my phone app and desktop browser at the same time and see totally different content.

Re:Because (4, Interesting)

darkain (749283) | about 4 months ago | (#47608135)

Something else I've personally noticed, and this is consistent with everyone I've asked about the issue...

"Top Stories" for desktop viewing vs mobile viewing are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. I have to check FB on both my desktop AND my tablet every day just to get an idea of what going on with my social circle. This is just stupid bad. What is even worse is that there is next to zero intersection between these two separate news feeds from the same account. It is as if Facebook decided to split timelines in half, one set for mobile, the other for desktop.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607871)

Yeah, what's so hard about showing me everything my actual friends post, in order? Oh, there's no money in that.

About Facebook (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 4 months ago | (#47607503)

This filter, that in my experience has the equivalent discrimination level of crack addicted meth head chimp, only detracts from the feed and explains why I am often saying "FB SUCKS!".

Thank you, and Facebook sucks.

Re:About Facebook (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | about 4 months ago | (#47607823)

Exactly !

What's worse is I think they've started dicking around with "most recent" also :(

ALL I want is POSTS to appear in chronological order and ALL of them to appear. If I haven't unfriended them or muted them...

THEN I WANT TO SEE THEIR POSTS....

FB can't even do that right...

Re:About Facebook (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 4 months ago | (#47608213)

crack addicted meth head chimp

Ooooh, now THAT I gotta see!

I like to dick with FB (2, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#47607511)

Yes I have a FB account (for various reasons) but when ever I get the chance I always flag ads as being sexually explicit with the hope that it wastes more FB resources than they gain from me. Yeah, it may not actually do anything, but it keeps me happy.

(Likewise I also report unsolicited emails from major companies as spam)

Re:I like to dick with FB (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607651)

Yeah, because they are able to analyze almost everything about your behavior but could never catch on that all your reports are crap? Its also very unlikely that they would even care about your report if you are the only person reporting.

Come on, can you really be that naive? Do you really think that during the design of the report functionality they said to themselves "a few million people will see this and might click on it, so we probably should handle everything manually and not find a way to filter out trolls, this is the internet after all and everybody is always nice here".

If you don't want to help facebook, then you don't join facebook. Simply being on there makes the whole system better for other users. Unless you are there but nobody ever contacts you on it or friends you.

Re:I like to dick with FB (1)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about 4 months ago | (#47607743)

If only I hadn't spent my mod points yesterday, I'd mod this up. This is the point of machine learning, and probably one of the first aspects that they tackled... the numbers don't lie.

Re:I like to dick with FB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607701)

They probably already have your account marked as "troll_flagger: true".

Re:I like to dick with FB (1)

antdude (79039) | about 4 months ago | (#47608853)

I like to block ads.

still completely broken (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607523)

The Facebook news feeds are still completely broken.

The algorithm is very simple: all post I subscribe to, sorted newest to oldest.

Culling is completely broken.

becau$e we can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607545)

Users would never stand for just being displayed everything they want in chronological order.

And yet (3, Informative)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | about 4 months ago | (#47607549)

And yet it still sucks at presenting me with any news I'm interested in. I think I've clicked on a news story from that feed only once and by accident. Hint : I don't have any interest in sports, politics, celebrity gossip, pop music, old news, and pretty much anything else they've recommended.

Re:And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607687)

It keeps in minds loads of other things than simply if you clicked it. Perhaps you actually are looking at those news feeds you talked about for longer than most others, maybe in a smug "I don't care about this crap" way. Or perhaps almost all of your friends do care, so facebook decided that its probably making you happier if you kind of know what they are talking about by shoving the "crap" you think you aren't interested in in your face all the time.

Or perhaps their algorithms are about groups of people and don't care about the individual person. If 99% of the people that they group you up with want those news feeds, but you are actually not interested in it, perhaps thats close enough for them.

Re:And yet (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 4 months ago | (#47607855)

Every time I visit my facebook page, I have to click on the "most recent first" option instead of having facebook decide what items I want to see. Sure would be nice if facebook made the "most recent first" option persistent across visits....

Re:And yet (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 4 months ago | (#47607977)

Every time I visit my facebook page, I have to click on the "most recent first" option instead of having facebook decide what items I want to see.

Just in case you weren't aware, all that does is sort the Top Stories chronologically. You're still only seeing the posts Facebook decides you want to see.

As far as I know, there is absolutely no way to prevent Facebook from filtering posts. If there is I'd love to know what it is, but Most Recent isn't it. (I think it used to be, but enough people knew about it, so Facebook had to take that away. We will read the ads Zuckerberg wants us to read, dammit.)

Re:And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608805)

I don't have any interest in sports, politics, celebrity gossip, pop music, old news, and pretty much anything else they've recommended.

So what DO you like? Youve pretty much ruled out most of the collective interests of Murica.

Do you also have no interest in Freedom, Baseball and walking around with guns openly in the fervent hope that you get to shoots yourself a criminal or terrorist to death?

*while im on topic, can somebody answer this age old question for me?: If I have hollowpoints loaded, do I need to double tap in the brain, or is one round enough? If ive taken at least half of the skull off with a hollowpoint and can very clearly see the majority of his brains on the walls and floor, is that considered dead enough, or is it wise to keep on shooting until there is only a bloody stump left?

Yeah, I'm still annoyed (2)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 4 months ago | (#47607601)

that I don't have the choice to tell Facebook to just stop randomly hiding shit on me.

Some of us don't have 1200 "friends" and don't want a filter.

Re:Yeah, I'm still annoyed (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 4 months ago | (#47607755)

Amen.

The real News Feed algorithm (3, Insightful)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 4 months ago | (#47607621)

if (session.timeelapsed() > 1800 || rand() % 3 == 0)
        newsfeed.setmode(TOP_STORIES);

its interesting, but only if you dont use facebook (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 4 months ago | (#47607671)

Articles like this are, for those of us who dont care to shackle ourselves to zuckerbergs moneytrain, technically interesting. For those of you with a facebook account however it should be insulting and demeaning as the equivalent of a farmhand explaining the latest milking machine or stun bolt to a herd of angus.

its completely OT, but i still feel obligated to say it. Facebook isnt interested in you as a person, theyre interested in you as a product.

Re:its interesting, but only if you dont use faceb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607839)

Facebook isnt interested in you as a person, theyre interested in you as a product.

Why would it be otherwise?

Re:its interesting, but only if you dont use faceb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608403)

Exactly. What kind of an idiot expects complete strangers to be interested in them as people? Everyone is a people, its not a big accomplishment. Your family and friends care about you as a person - no one else does. That is a Good Thing.

Re:its interesting, but only if you dont use faceb (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 4 months ago | (#47608655)

Facebook isnt interested in you as a person, theyre interested in you as a product.

Why would it be otherwise?

Ethically: Because someone read Kant.

Financially: Because it will likely lead to a longer lived network, that makes more money over 90+ years, but less money in the first decade.

Yeah well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47607753)

I can say with a high degree of certainty those 100,000 variables are set wrong... else I (an athiest) would not have my wall flooded with "this day in jebus" posts. (Unless if course, they are aiming to convert me? :P)

The algorithm I want (1)

slapout (93640) | about 4 months ago | (#47607771)

All the posts from my friends + all the post from places I've liked - anything I've turned off (like game requests)

Is that so hard?

Most Users (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 4 months ago | (#47607805)

have no clue how Facebook works behind the scenes.

Re:Most Users (3, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 4 months ago | (#47608545)

...and that's exactly how Facebook likes it.

Should be much simpler.... (1)

vanyel (28049) | about 4 months ago | (#47607859)

If it's a post by a friend or group I've joined (main news feed) or list member (when I have a list selected), show it. Period. That's the whole point of facebook. It's *extremely* annoying to find out some time later I missed something important because facebook decided it wasn't interesting for some obscure reason.

Anybody else notice event posts getting delayed? (1)

Obscene_CNN (3652201) | about 4 months ago | (#47607945)

Anybody else notice event posts getting delayed? Often I find out about post from friends on events after they happen. I would suspect that Facebook's algorithm does this intentionally to try and encourage people to pay to boost a post.

Re:Anybody else notice event posts getting delayed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608413)

I have lately been missing event invites and only finding out about the events when it gets to a week or a few days before it's scheduled. I'll go look at it and it says "X invited you" but I never saw a damn invite.

Real OG (1, Funny)

WillgasM (1646719) | about 4 months ago | (#47608047)

Real gangstas browse by recent stories. My actual news feed only contains posts by chicks I'd like to do. I guess "doability" is one of those weighted variables.

Re:Real OG (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 4 months ago | (#47608733)

"Doability" isn't. How long you look at the post is. So, FB figured out your preferred use of their service is to look at small pictures of attractive women.

Am I Just Unpopular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608173)

300 posts culled from roughly 1,500 possible posts per day, per user.

Who has that many possible posts per day??

PA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608763)

Hello Everybody. My name is John, and im a recovering Privacyretardaholic.

This month marks 3 years since I deleted my Facebook account and gained back some privacy and sanity. I feel great, my life is less fearful, my job prospects are better, my privacy is in its best shape in 3 years.

The best part of all is that not once in the 3 years of freedom have I EVER missed Facebook and all the shit, spam, profiling and bitchiness that comes with it.

I feel like I have my life back, and all thanks to staying sober from the evils of privacy-retardation.

Thank you Privacyretardaholics Anonymous for saving my online life.

Dumb Algorithm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47608817)

All that work and it still can't figure out that I just want my feed in reverse chronological order at all times.

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