Not so long ago it was discovered that Facebook tweaked its algorithm. To do this, the company used human to curate news and pick and choose trends. This caused an uproar and a lot of unhappy people. So Facebook responded to its users by firing the algorithm team. Now, Facebook’s trends have gone crazy.
An All Machine Team
Facebook users insisted that the company let the algorithm do its job without human intervention. So when Facebook fired its algorithm team, the humans that used to tweak the algorithm were no longer watching the machine. The results have not been good to say the least.
Facebook’s machine picked up a trend about some celebrities that weren’t true, made up stories about random people, and found some other strange things to include in the trend list. None of those things were correct and now Facebook users are angry once again (not to mention the people that were impacted by these false stories).
Facebook has told press that the company has been planning to get rid of its human curators for a while now. The idea was, the company noted, always to let the machines take over. Some sources say that the Facebook curation team was fired without any warning and given four weeks notice, but that has not been confirmed by Facebook.
A Good Idea?
But is it a good idea to let an algorithm machine decide on trends for a company? So far the results have not been favorable. Facebook claims that things will get better, and that the algorithms will start to pick up actual stories that are backed up by facts. Just how the company plans to do that, though, remains to be seen.
Facebook used to ask its curation team to make sure that stories were backed up by reliable sources. The company even had a list of sources that could be checked against all trending topics. The current algorithm does not check sources so trends of all kinds (true or false) have been popping up on the site.
Exactly why Facebook decided to let go of its curation team when it did remains to be seen. But the company has also noted that full automation has always been the plan. If Facebook has always wanted to let its algorithm take over completely, the company doesn’t seem to have perfected it quite yet.
But like anything new or anything that is on its own for the first time, Facebook’s algorithm will begin to pick up trending stories that are actually true. Right now, those trends might be off for a bit but the company will likely begin to perfect the automated algorithms soon.
The more mistakes that the machine makes, the more that Facebook can fix the issues. As any technology company knows, mistakes are not necessarily a bad thing - they simply mean that there’s room for improvement. So if you see something that doesn’t sound quite right in your Facebook trend list, make sure to double check before you share.
The company has acknowledged that some of the trends are off, and for now that means that you’ll have to think twice before believing any trend that’s listed.