Is running a site that effectively catalogs the life events and communication of so many people playing with fire by manipulating it's "algorithm"?!
What gives anyone the authority to tweak an algorithm on a public service of this kind, with no real basis other than refining profit a private company makes.
Let's take a look at the history of Facebook's "algorithm" in a timeline...
- 2017 - Facebook reports having over 2 billion public users
- 2004 - Facebook was launched
- 2017 - Would you buy this car? Yes or No? [ad]
- 1984 - Mark Zuckerberg was born
- 2015 - Facebook's algorithm is programmed to filter out false or misleading content
- 2017 - Have you tried Instagram Yet? [ad]
- 2012 - Facebook had it's Initial Public Offering
Notice anything sketch about the timeline above? Yes, the dates are not in order, and Ads get in the way kinda... Don't they?
Facebook re-wrote the ideal that items on a timeline need to appear in chronological order (Newest first, and older posts in the order/rank in which they were posted). This screwed up a lot of things online... It also allowed them to veil Ads and celebrity posts (which are almost always ads themselves) in your timeline, so suddenly posts from Katie Perry would show up before even those of your mom.
We used FaceBook originally when it didn't have ads, and it was pretty useful, and actually almost cool. The main purpose of it was to help us, and boy was it great to have that as a free service. We shared non-stop photos that we don't have backed up anywhere else, and posted our deepest thoughts, and believed they couldn't be seen by anyone else we didn't want to see them. It ended up being all a big lie. FaceBook betrayed us by selling our information to the highest bidders, and by only allowing us to see parts of our history (unless you want to click a really really high amount of times through the site to get through it all). After FaceBook's IPO, the features and utility of the site went downhill kind of for individual people on it... Most post people make are not even seen by friends that follow you, they take a back seat to the rampant ads and video posts, and many actually provided evidence that some of what you see on FaceBook as posts & Likes by your friends are in fact generated by marketers and FaceBook's corrupt algorithm.
The article at the the beginning of this post highlights the end of a test period for how far FaceBook could go with advertising, which bolsters their annual revenue, and makes their investors very happy. By tweaking their algorithm, Facebook now knows exactly how many ads they can place on your timeline before you lose interest and stop returning. Right now they're hoping you're not too frustrated to return to the site, so that's why the people in the video are trying to energetically sell it to us as a great new thing.
FaceBook through owning their application, and as a private company has a really uncharted amount of influence on society because of the sheer size of their user base. They now influence elections, they can influence products we buy, and even where we choose to live. They're also actively acquiring other companies, and making partnerships with foreign governments. Will social media companies uphold ethical standards for the very very private information and analytical data they compile on us? Should we be able to pull the plug and truly delete everything whenever we want to opt out as individuals? Can I get a solid backup of my content without pulling out a tooth? Can we trust a publicly traded company to control and change the timeliness and accuracy of information we receive? Do you think maybe a paid site service would be any better? I'm inclined to say "Probably Not" on all of the above.
Should we allow a private company, or even any government to ever have this much control over our communications and personal information again? I keep telling myself the answer is NO. If there was somehow a more de-centralized system to store this data, like a peer to peer network based off of mobile devices that we individually control and configure, Social media would be a lot more useful, private, and decentralized. There is a lot to discuss surrounding our future, and I hope the right people do it. Add your thoughts here on the matter if you care. If you need us involved in your discussions, just let me know. We obviously have a lot of opinions about the matter.