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Is Facebook Trying to Predict Our Content Needs?
By: Christine Geraci
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Facebook is conducting a survey to make your newsfeed better. I received a notification the other day, and decided to take a peek.
 
What followed was a veritable "hot or not" comparison of status updates.
 
"I am interested in seeing more like this," was the basic statement, and then I was asked to pick a rating on a scale that went from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree."
 
News articles from the New York Times went up against soul-bearing status updates from a friend who just let go of a mystery toxic person in her life. Pictures of adorable children duked it out with videos from Upworthy. And each time, I was forced to choose which I liked better, which I wanted to see more of. 
 
But you see, my content appetite changes rather frequently. Sometimes I can't get enough news articles, other days I want to ignore all the anger-inducing nonsense going on in the world. These days I'm hiding Elf On The Shelf photos like it's bringing me discretionary income. After the holidays, I'll want to see New Year's resolutions from those same people.
 
This survey is most likely a byproduct of Facebook's latest big algorithm change, announced last week, designed to help you more readily discover content shared by your family and friends. As we've discussed before, Facebook is putting itself in the role of content quality judge. It's tweaking the content it presents to you in your news feed to try to remain relevant to you, to isolate, bolster and — dare I say, predict — the reasons you keep coming back. 
 
I've never been a fan of the fact that Facebook creates a user experience that puts a lot of responsibility on the user. It's up to YOU to constantly tinker with your privacy settings, and determine who gets to see your posts through a completely unintuitive privacy customization mechanism. Kind of a pain in the neck. 
 
But here's one instance where I don't want Facebook to try to make the decision for me. As I've said before, just because I "like" one post and "share" another, it doesn't necessarily mean that for the foreseeable future, I want to see less posts like the one I "liked" and more posts like the one I shared. A human being's content appetite is hardly predictable, yet it feels as though Facebook is trying to make it so. 
 
Or, perhaps we're all too predictable when it comes to the information we want to consume, and we just don't realize it yet. 


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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