December 19, 2017

Facebook is taking action against what it calls "engagement bait."

"For example, 'LIKE this if you’re an Aries!'... starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts... that use engagement bait."
To help us foster more authentic engagement, teams at Facebook have reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.

Additionally, over the coming weeks, we will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed.....

[W]e will demote posts that go against one of our key News Feed values — authenticity. Similar to our other recent efforts to demote clickbait headlines and links to low-quality web page experiences, we want to reduce the spread of content that is spammy, sensational, or misleading in order to promote more meaningful and authentic conversations on Facebook.
Facebook wants you to engage... with Facebook. They want the direct interface with the authentic person, not for some other operation to leverage itself through Facebook. And it makes sense to say that the exclusion of these interposers makes the experience better for the authentic people who use Facebook. So I support Facebook's effort to get its rivals out of the way of us authentic people, even if the rivals are no more "artificial" than Facebook itself. But I do know some people — authentic people — who pass along what I think is going to be considered "engagement bait," and a lot of these people aren't too aware of what they are doing. I think (if I understand the linked Facebook post correctly) that only the posts that share "engagement bait" will get demoted and the rest of what this authentic person has to offer will be unaffected.

ADDED: On a more metaphysical level: What is authentic anymore? What is the authentic/artificial distinction that Facebook claims — authentically/artificially — to be the police of? Is there an authentic authentic/artificial distinction or is the authentic/artificial distinction artificial?

AND: I'm reading a book that I think has a lot to say about the authentic/artificial distinction. You can tell by the title: "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself" (Subtitle: "A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace"). But the word "authentic" never appears in the book, and the word "artificial" only appears in the context of "artificial spit" ("it’s called Zero-Lube. It’s an actual pharmaceutical product").

33 comments:

james james said...

When I read "engagement bait" I thought they meant they were going after those ads that promise Russian, Asian, South American wives.

I could link to one of those ads, but then I will make Facebook mad.

They are already mad at me because I am not on Facebook.

- james james

rhhardin said...

I'd go with the Chinese room test.

MayBee said...

Also, they want you to pay for engagement bait.

Nonapod said...

I imagine that in the future it will become increasingly difficult to discern what is true from what is false. Perhaps there's always been a race between the real (authentic) versus the unreal (whether a machine, a program, or a human charlatan). But over time technology will make artificial agents behave in more and more authentic ways. In a world of information, reality will be shaped some vague sense of what appears to be more authentic. Everything else must be dismissed as fake news.

Angel-Dyne said...

All you shallow, celebrity-gossip pursuing, trivial-minded, and inauthentic flibbertigibbets are in need of "improving" web experiences.

How positively Victorian.

...to demote...links to low-quality web page experiences...

What if all you're looking for is a meaningless low-quality web page experience? (Lol. "Web page experiences.")

(Hahaha. Not that we all don't know Facebook really means by "low-quality" and "not meaningful".)

Fernandistein said...

authentic = more profitable
artificial = less profitable

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

If people keep sharing that stupid SHARE IF YOU HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER YOU LOVE WITH ALL YOUR HEART crap, not to mention IT'S SOUTHWEEST AIRLINS FIFTY ANNIVERSARY SO WERE GIVING AWAY FRE TICKETS SHOARE TO ENTER, there has to be a desire for it.

That said, if I never saw another 'share if' post again it would be rather nice.

Wilbur said...

I'm not on Facebook (or any other site) and have never been. My friends who are, even those who say they enjoy it, advise me not to. I never asked them why, but just accepted it as good advice.

Anonymous said...

our key News Feed values — authenticity.

"If you can fake that, you've got it made."

P.S. What happened to the option to sign in with your own name when commenting? It was there for a day or two and then it went away again.

tcrosse said...

They told me that if Net Neutrality went away, the greedy Capitalists would be deciding what I could see on the Web.

Francisco D said...

Finding truth and authenticity is an old fashioned liberal ideal. It is a process rather than an outcome.

It seems really outmoded today, but I subscribe to it.

Jupiter said...

Did you know there is an algorithm to scan the pictures you post on Facebook and collect the fingerprints from the lens of the camera that was used to take them? Yeah, a couple bright young friends of humanity at Stanford came up with that one. So, now they can reconstruct your physical circle of friends by figuring out who uses whose cameras. Neat, huh? No, that's not all they can do, there are lots of other things they can do. Want to find out how they figure out how often you have sex, what kind of sex, and with whom? Just keep using Facebook.

Ray said...

Facebook is very much pay to play...

Sebastian said...

"Is there an authentic authentic/artificial distinction or is the authentic/artificial distinction artificial?"

Typical Althouse engagement bait.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

So, now they can reconstruct your physical circle of friends by figuring out who uses whose cameras.

Do you hand your phone to your friends so everyone can touch the camera lens? Do you touch it yourself? Come on.

Jupiter said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

"Do you hand your phone to your friends so everyone can touch the camera lens? Do you touch it yourself? Come on."

I don't have a phone. But I have had complete strangers hand me their phone and ask me to take their picture with it. Couldn't tell you whether I touched the lens.

traditionalguy said...

Axis Sally is back. FaceBook is a digital Operation PaperClip descendant. Don't you just love really good German Propaganda, Volkswagons and Autobahns.

In Atlanta, the US Headquarters for Porche just opened at the edge of the ATL runway , and the a new 1.5 billion dollar Football Stadium opened named for Mercedes Benz.

BTW: The Atlanta Airport Terminal apparently does have generators galore.Apparently it was put out of service intentionally and kept totally dark for 10 hours to allow a Trump vs. Deep State operation to capture and extract a high level fugitive to be done.

Mandalay Bay and Vegas has nothing on ATL.

Michael K said...

But I have had complete strangers hand me their phone and ask me to take their picture with it. Couldn't tell you whether I touched the lens.

A young cousin did that in New York City and the person took off with his camera.

Maybe they could catch the thief with that technology, like the guy who stole the laptop and used the "Face time" app to take his own photo.

Sebastian said...

Waiting for hardin's Derrida quote on authenticity vs. artificiality.

traditionalguy said...

The big question is whether Franken will come out and announce that he is always joking. Get it? His molestation moves are no more authentic than his resignation announcements.

Infinite Monkeys said...

I would be happy not to see another Natural News or other bullshit site link ever again.

Actually, I don't see them much now. FB lets you filter out some sources that you don't want to see. It seems like they think their users are too stupid to figure out how to use the tools they already have and need to have their feed filtered for them.

urbane legend said...

I have some very good quality cameras. People who touch the lenses find their hands come back short of fingers, or one finger short to the first knuckle, anyway.

Jupiter, no one can figure out anything out about sex from the pictures. We don't even look at those. Too may other places to find humor.

Martin said...

FB, the home of "Facebook Friends" and consciously working to stimulate dopamine responses in its users, talking up authenticity is like, oh I can't help myself, Hitler giving the Yom Kippur sermon.

Richard Dolan said...

Facebook sounds like an artificial cyberworld that's best avoided by authentic people. And so I do.

Jupiter said...

"A young cousin did that in New York City and the person took off with his camera."

One must admire the adroit fashion in which he recognized Opportunity and took immediate action. What do you suppose is the value of a stolen phone? $20?

Jupiter said...

urbane legend said...
"I have some very good quality cameras."

Another technological ignoramus exposed. All these "smartphones" have cameras. They are festooned with cameras. They have a camera facing you, to ID you and gauge your mood, and they have cameras facing the other way to do other pointless and annoying things. They actually take fairly high quality images. And you would need to be very careful not to touch the lenses. And you don't know when those cameras are recording images, and the thing is connected to the internet.

n.n said...

Facebook is Skynet.

Planned Parenthood is Umbrella Corporation.

SteveR said...

The food making videos are the most evil, that should be where they start.

Kyzernick said...

Facebook was better when it was people giving actual updates about their lives. Now it's all random, "clever" memes and dumb sentimental pictures and short videos.

n.n said...

Google is Skynet. Facebook is a cult classic, served with a powdery drink.

Planned Parenthood is still Umbrella Corporation.

Michael said...

Wasn't Facebook all agitated over Net Neutrality? The very idea that someone other than them could have any kind of control over what you see on the internet!

urbane legend said...

Jupiter said...
urbane legend said...
"I have some very good quality cameras."

Another technological ignoramus exposed.

Jupiter, maybe you need to learn to read. Those cameras are not cell phone cameras; they are real cameras. Yes, some cell phone cameras are quite good, and can read minds and record heart rates of people watching kittens juggle chainsaws, and send that information instantly to advertisers and the FBI. Those are not my medium of creativity.

Anonymous said...

"Engagement bait" is impossible to define. It's a vague standard intended to let Facebook delete anything it wants.

Unless it's defined as anything that makes you want to engage, in which case Facebook will be shooting itself in the foot here.