Paek, Tim (Microsoft Research) | Gamon, Michael (Microsoft Research) | Counts, Scott (Microsoft Research) | Chickering, David Maxwell (Microsoft Research) | Dhesi, Aman (Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur)
As users of social networking websites expand their network of friends, they are often flooded with newsfeed posts and status updates, most of which they consider to be "unimportant" and not newsworthy. In order to better understand how people judge the importance of their newsfeed, we conducted a study in which Facebook users were asked to rate the importance of their newsfeed posts as well as their friends. We learned classifiers of newsfeed and friend importance to identify predictive sets of features related to social media properties, the message text, and shared background information. For classifying friend importance, the best performing model achieved 85% accuracy and 25% error reduction. By leveraging this model for classifying newsfeed posts, the best newsfeed classifier achieved 64% accuracy and 27% error reduction.
In November, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg started sprinkling a new phrase, or perhaps a new idea, into his quarterly call with investors. "It's important to remember that Facebook is about bringing people closer together and enabling meaningful social interactions," he said. Research, he continued, demonstrates that interactions with friends and family on social media is particularly "meaningful." The goal of his service is to "encourage meaningful social interactions" and to connect in ways that lead to "meaningful interactions" and let us "build meaningful relationships."
Facebook has responded to widespread criticism of how its Newsfeed algorithm disseminates and amplifies misinformation in the wake of the Trump victory in the US presidential election yesterday. Multiple commentators were quick to point a finger of blame at Facebook's role in the election campaign, arguing the tech giant has been hugely irresponsible given the role its platform now plays as a major media source, and specifically by enabling bogus stories to proliferate -- many examples of which were seen to circulated in the Facebook Newsfeed during the campaign. "Facebook's vast, personalized sewer system has become clogged with toxic fatbergs" https://t.co/umoKT2bLjX Last week Buzzfeed reported on an entire cottage industry of web users in Macedonia generating fake news stories related to Trump vs Clinton in order to inject them into Facebook's Newsfeed as a way to drive viral views and generate ad revenue from lucrative US eyeballs. This enterprise has apparently been wildly successful for the teens involved, with some apparently managing to pull in up to $3,000 and $5,000 per month thanks to the power of Facebook's amplification algorithm.
Facebook has a news problem. The algorithm powering its Newsfeed can't always distinguish an accurate story from a complete fabrication, which means misleading and false stories regularly circulate throughout the site. Following Donald Trump's win in the US presidential election this week, commentators are arguing that fake stories shared on Facebook's Newsfeed propelled his campaign, and executives at the site need to take responsibility for distributing accurate, vetted news. In a statement shared with TechCrunch, Facebook VP of product management Adam Mosseri said that the company is aware of the fake-news problem. "We take misinformation on Facebook very seriously," the statement says.