Facebook and the vicious circle of algorithms

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Facebook's new algorithm seeks to favor content creators and fight against false news

Facebook and the vicious circle of algorithms

Among the many changes that Zuckerberg has prepared for Facebook in the coming months, such as privacy, content creators and fake news are also on their to-do list.

Edgerank is the name that receives the algorithm of Facebook that, in other words, helps your content to come out to people in their feeds and thus be able to generate interactions. Have you ever wondered why sometimes a 5-minute-ago and a few-days-ago post on your Facebook's  'home ' are next to each other? It is because of the algorithm, which works by showing publications more easily and unfold, depending on their interactions.

Leer en español: Facebook y el círculo vicioso de los algoritmos

The algorithm is often a vicious circle: you need interaction so that the algorithm favors you and, by favoring you, it helps you generate more interactions. This process then ends by determining what goes viral or not, which also makes it responsible to a certain extent of spreading fake news.

Read also: How to fight terrorism in social networks?

Content creators

Currently, Facebook's algorithm is difficult to manage, so many content creators prefer to strengthen other social networks such as Instagram and use YouTube as the backbone, instead of spending time on Facebook posts that surely will not be as successful as they will be elsewhere. According to the statement in La X, today the best way for the algorithm to benefit you is with paid advertising, which does not end up losing sense for the work as a content creator.

Although this may be difficult to understand and for a common user it is even not very useful, the influencers and creators of content that work on social networks live out of this algorithm. Now Facebook aims to favor original content, beyond those with paid advertising. If certain 'requirements' are met, Edgerank usually privileges them.

Something that is extremely important for a content creator is the 'engagement', which basically translates to how faithful your followers are (likes, interactions, etc.). The more 'engagement' you have, the algorithm favors you more and, the more you favor it, the more chances you have to generate engagement. Once again, a vicious circle.

One of the new bets of Edgerank will be that it will reward those who upload videos directly to Facebook, that is, not as a shared link from another platform. In addition, it will take into account the views in the videos that last approximately one minute. So if your followers last that minute in your video, the algorithm will help you.

Another of the publications that benefit the algorithm are GIFs, photos and, especially, live videos, according to the Metricool portal. In the announcement about these changes, made in the Facebook blog, Zuckerberg wrote that "live videos usually create a discussion topic among users, in fact, live videos create an average of six times more interactions than regular videos."

Just as the company seeks to favor this type of content, it will also become rigorous when it comes to seeing how content creators get their fame online. In this sense, it will fight against the 'engagement-bait '. This term is usually used in networks such as Instagram, where influencers ask their followers to comment on their photos to generate many comments and 'likes'. Facebook, on the other hand, will look for all the interaction in photos or videos to be originated by our own initiative, which will penalize those who ask their followers to comment or react to its contents.

False news

In rigorous terms, Facebook has also taken the decision for a while to pay more attention to the dissemination of false news. As one of the most used social networks, it is also evident that news that are not real are spread and Facebook has the responsibility to stop it. Although neither artificial nor human intelligence has been able to combat this, Edgerank will also focus on tracking down fake accounts that may be spreading misinformation.

All this has been started by Facebook with the intention that users trust the brand again. Facebook's statement on its blog says that: "we are improving in reinforcing ourselves against false accounts and non-real coordinated behavior; we are using technology and people to fight against misinformation in photos and videos; we have launched new measures to help people distinguish between real news and a 'fake news'".

However, they can not censor the information, as it would undermine the freedom of expression, so the algorithm comes into play to not favor these contents and prevent them from reaching large numbers of people.


LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

Translated from "Facebook y el círculo vicioso de los algoritmos"