back to

Did Facebook introduce emoticons to improve their data mining?


Despite our hopes and dreams for a dislike button, Facebook rolled out their new emoticon reactions this week, debuting “haha,” “love,” “wow,” “sad,” and “angry.” Jack Smith of asks, will these emoticons just serve to make Facebook’s data mining operations more sophisticated? Should we just not use them? His text in partial below, the full piece here.

Social engineering: Facebook confirmed to Mic that it will use data gathered when you use the new emojis to alter your News Feed and learn more about what you like.

Facebook is constantly trying to figure out what will keep you glued to your News Feed longer. Every like, every share and every click or tap is more data to feed the Facebook algorithms. It’s like watering a tree that sinks its roots deeper and deeper. And with each interaction, Facebook knows you better. Do you prefer Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, or fashion to green living?

Facebook knows this about you, and it will use the information to tailor your News Feed to things Facebook thinks you want to see.

This tailoring of your feed affects how news organizations report and distribute valuable information, and it’s influencing how political campaigns shape their messages. It can even have an impact on which candidates reach a bigger audience.

Your Facebook feed could be a source of inspiration. It could inform you, challenge your political beliefs or expose you to new art and ideas. But Facebook’s main interest is to grab your attention and keep you scrolling and clicking. It’s meant to keep you more engaged, but more often than not, you end up just searching endlessly for something interesting.

Notice all of the videos you see lately? Facebook figured out that video holds people’s attention, so now it feeds you more punchy videos than articles. This is why your News Feed is now filled with food porn clips and one-minute segments summarizing breaking news.

*Image of Mark Zuckerberg walking through a sea of virtual reality users via Business Insider