Facebook's Reaction buttons are a little over a year old and we're now learning how the social network uses the emoji-type icons to populate our newsfeed.
According to Facebook, if a user reacts to a post with the love reaction Facebook infers they want to see more of that type of post. Initially a reaction was treated no differently than a 'like' but now 'love', 'wow', 'angry', 'sad' reactions are weighted more heavily than likes.
Since Facebook knows what type of stories make you angry or sad and what types of posts you 'love' it is possible the social network could, if it chooses, manipulate your emotions by putting certain stories higher in your newsfeed.
Imagine seeing only posts that make you angry or sad. How would that affect your mood? Would you be happier if you saw mostly stories you and your friends like or love?
It isn't like Facebook hasn't wondered the same thing. In 2012 Facebook employees conducted a psychological experiment with nearly 700,000 of its users. For one week Facebook placed happier stories near the top of some users newsfeed, and placed sad or more depressing stories on other users' feeds. After a week Facebook studied follow-up posts to determine if it affected the posts of the recipients. In other words, did people who saw mostly positive posts in their feed post more positive posts on their own wall?
Facebook apologized once the experiment came to light and said the results showed only a minor shift in the emotions of people receiving the filtered posts.
Facebook says at any given time a user logs on, there are some 1,500 items that could be placed in their newsfeed and it uses an algorithm to determine which posts are placed higher which is based on what they have liked before or posts that have received the most likes and reactions from mutual friends.
Saturday, January 20 2018 8:07 AM EST2018-01-20 13:07:44 GMT
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