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
  1. 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.
  2. Facebook began testing Reactions in October.
    They started with six emojis: “love”, “haha”, “yay”, “wow”, “sad”, and “angry”.
  3. 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.
  4. But Facebook has an ulterior motive —mining your emotions.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. But Reactions will allow more granular analysis of users’ thoughts, emotions, and desires.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Some have questioned why Facebook chose to limit Reactions to only five emojis.
    There are two possible reasons.
  11. People might be intimidated by too many choices (which would explain why “yay” was dropped from the final version).
  12. Or, limited options make the data easier to categorize and feed into Facebook’s algorithms.
  13. Either way, one thing is clear:
  14. Facebook is very, very interested in how you feel.