I read: Understanding User Beliefs About Algorithmic Curationin the Facebook News Feed by Emilee Rader and Rebecca Gray.
It’s research paper that looks at how people perceive their Facebook News Feed, and how it they think it works. Interesting stuff!
What stood out to me was this little piece of information:
“Respondents indicate they believe an entity, characterized as Facebook or as an algorithm, prioritizes posts for display in the News Feed. Also, which posts they see depends on what the system knows about their preferences and characteristics, post popularity, and past interaction with other users. 80% No, 20% Maybe/Yes”
I thought it was common knowledge that the News Feed and other similar algorithms cherry pick what is presented to you. Like if google the word “Horse”, I will get a completely different list of hits than somebody else. It’s interesting to see that the people in the survey are unaware to what extent Facebooks tracks them.
Everything from you IP address, to analyzing your pictures, to following your location even when facebook, or your phone is switched off, is used. As well as how you comment, what you comment on, what you share etc. to better direct ads your way, and also show you posts you might be interested in interacting with. A good ol’ ad blocker does wonders for most of this, coupled with a VPN, but I guess those things have yet to seep into the mainstream conscious.