THOSE FACEBOOK REACTION BUTTONS ARE HARVESTING YOUR SWEET, SWEET DATA
Your opinions are valuable, but not in the way you think. http://slate.me/24qdsOV
- •You probably noticed that Facebook recently made some updates to its “like” button.The feature is called “Reactions”, and it’s been in the works for a while.
- •Facebook began testing Reactions in October.They started with six emojis: “love”, “haha”, “yay”, “wow”, “sad”, and “angry”.
- •So far, the public’s reaction to Reactions has been positive.The days of awkwardly “liking” a post about your friend’s dying dog are gone.
- •But Facebook has an ulterior motive —mining your emotions.
- •Your News Feed is controlled by a sophisticated algorithm that determines what content you see each day.The content is constantly adjusted so you don’t become bored or overwhelmed.
- •In the past, when users “liked” a post, Facebook’s algorithm assumed they wanted to see more content of a similar variety.It was crudely effective.
- •But Reactions will allow more granular analysis of users’ thoughts, emotions, and desires.
- •Facebook hasn’t given any details of its plans for Reactions data, but it’s easy to imagine many possible uses.For example: if you click “angry” on ten baby pictures, it’s clear that babies make you furious, so your News Feed would be baby-free in the future.
- •Advertisers are already licking their chops.More nuanced data means ads can be placed strategically, where they are more likely to trigger the desired emotion.
- •Some have questioned why Facebook chose to limit Reactions to only five emojis.There are two possible reasons.
- •People might be intimidated by too many choices (which would explain why “yay” was dropped from the final version).
- •Or, limited options make the data easier to categorize and feed into Facebook’s algorithms.
- •Either way, one thing is clear:
- •Facebook is very, very interested in how you feel.