In its most recent algorithm shift, Facebook will be prioritizing Reactions over Likes, when ranking stories on News Feed.
Moving from a system of “approval” on articles (Likes), to a more “psychological” indicator: Reactions. And from this, Facebook found that Reactions are a better indicator of whether someone was considering a post and could also be interested in something similar. Better than Likes, that is.
The company says that it will “weigh” each response in precisely the same way. However, it also needs to take into account the time a user spends on each post, and then “weigh” every reaction accordingly. Spending more time on an article, even if that means picking a suitable reaction, shows that a person has “cared.” It would also be kind of interesting to understand, how frequently users alter their Reactions, within minutes, or over longer intervals.
In the one year, they have been about, Reactions have taken over how we communicate. And despite all of the negativity on our News Feed, you will be happy to know that “Love” accounts for half of the 300 billion times Reactions were used. Heartwarming! Surprised?
With each click, Facebook assembles your profile and feeds it back into its AI machines that will choose which story or advertisement makes it into your News Feed.
On a darker note, Facebook has additionally been accused of using News Feed to make a controversial, emotional experiment for its users — by manipulating their input, to serve them with tales that would either make them sad or joyful.
I have to admit from a marketing standpoint, this sounds like an amazing tool. I could “target” people’s emotions with all kinds of products based on their emotions.
However, looking at this from someone that values their privacy and not wanting to be manipulated, Facebook’s reactions cause me to be deeply concerned that they can and will be abused.
Whatever the case, now that you know that Facebook is shooting your Reactions into consideration, to decide as to what to show you next, it is possible to take measures. You could also attempt to match the system for this brilliant browser expansion — Go Rando!
This is where Rando chimes in — a browser extension that targets “counter-manipulating” those metrics, by randomizing your responses on the stage. As Benjamin Grosser, the creator behind this program points out, each time you click ‘Like,’ Go Rando randomly chooses one of the six ‘reactions’ for you.
Over time, you seem to Facebook’s algorithms as someone whose feelings are emotionally ‘balanced’ — as somebody who feels Angry up to Haha or Sad up to Love.
In his manifesto, Grosser worries that Facebook’s Reactions could lead to questionable analyses of state-of-mind, and finally surveillance, arrest, or differently. Mark Zuckerberg might have a different opinion about this — particularly because he embarked on a crusade to re-unite the US — and the world. But, hey — who are we to judge?
Whatever the case if you’re interested, install GoRando and go rogue along with your reactions on Facebook.