Facebook has just created some vast plethora of jobs by opening up, in a limited manner, how the Newsfeed works. One of the great ambitions of a website – like this one, yes – being to work out how to gain regular and extensive placement on said Newsfeed. Being there can mean hundreds of thousands of views of a piece and as all should know in an advertising funded medium, views mean money.
So much so that changes a little while back in how Facebook decided which pieces made it into said Newsfeed, who saw them, how they went viral or not, entirely changed the income of a number of companies. There were even those who went bust simply as a result.
So, this is going to lead to vast swathes of people being employed:
Facebook to finally explain the decisions of its news feed algorithm
The thing being though it’s not actually going to explain, outright, that algo:
In a post on Facebook’s Newsroom blog, the social media giant detailed some of the new information users could learn about posts on their personal Newsfeed – whether they liked a certain page, shared a certain article, or became friends with a specific Facebook user. By clicking on the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of any post, users can access the info, as well as be prompted to take action off the back of what they learn: unfollow a certain page, alter their preferences, or clarify that they don’t want to keep seeing posts on a certain topic.
Facebook is launching a new feature that explains how its algorithms decide what to display in your News Feed. A new “Why am I seeing this post?” button will indicate what activity influenced Facebook’s algorithms.
The fuller explanation is here at Facebook.
So, what they’re not doing is telling people who wish to game the Newsfeed how to do so. They are instead telling individual users what it is that they’re doing which influences the Newsfeed. But people who would manipulate the Newsfeed at Facebook are intensely interested in gaming the Newsfeed at Facebook. Which is where those tens of thousands of new jobs come in.
Give it a few weeks and there will be farms of people out there in the Philippines and the like. Who are all running 10 to 50 to 100 Facebook accounts, each individual person doing so. They will be using this new tool to see what it is that is influencing what appears in the feed of each account they’re playing with. From which a certain amount of reverse engineering of the algorithm can take place. The results of that reverse engineering being sold to those who would manipulate placement on Facebook’s Newsfeed.
It’s the very manner in which the Facebook Newsfeed algo is only being even partially explained to individuals that means that those tens of thousands of individuals will be employed to try and reverse engineer it.