Facebook actually made more money when they tried getting rid of the News Feed algorithm.

Originally published at: Facebook actually made more money when they tried getting rid of the News Feed algorithm. | Boing Boing

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More money, sure, but they fell well short of their misery quota.


The algorithm pretty much killed my Facebook enjoyment. I never saw anything in a timely manner like my friends asking to hang out or having an extra ticket to something. I never saw the groups I liked.
And every time I log in I see the same posts unless I scroll down and those are from 3 days ago.

It is bullshit.


People often talk about how corporations, and Facebook in particular, do evil things because they’re side-effects of being ruled by amoral profit-seeking behaviors. And that’s true, but not the entire reason why evil shit happens - sometimes, it’s because human being make irrational decisions based on what they think “should” be making money/engaging users (or because they’re actually advancing own personal prejudices), despite the fact that the evidence doesn’t support it (or even indicates the opposite). Corporations like to promote the propaganda that they’re highly efficient and rational, but the reality is, they’re frequently not. At all.

Basically, when it comes to corporate malfeasance, I think we really underestimate the “because people are idiots” factor as a contributing cause.


I’m confused here. It seems to be saying that with it turned off users were presented with more things that didn’t interest them. That says to me that it was doing a decent job of picking out relevant things.

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I can only assume that by “decent” you meant “slightly less shitty”. It’s never shown me anything relevent to what I was trying to do on that hellsite*.

I effectively stopped using Failbook when they made it night impossible for me to keep the “show my my friends posts in chronological order, newest first” as a default, and instead hid it under 384343 layers of menus and obfuscations.

  • I mean, Tumblr’s the original hellsite, but at least it’s kept the same way of showing posts the entire time, and it remembers the user’s viewing preferences, at least on the desktop version of the site. (We’ll not talk about the app, which is about as shitty as failbook, but without all the data slurpage.)

I much preferred the algorithm for Google+, even if the features themselves were a bit better at the time on FB.

Of course, nobody was on Google+, which I also liked.


I think it’s fair to say a lot of mostly rational, fact based engineers, designers and execs have some significant poor assumptions and underlying biases, and at least some of them are Dunning Krugered up the wazoo.

They may be really good at a lot of things, but are so inflexible and overconfident they end up spiralling out of control.


Fewer people being in G+ was definitely its strength. Not just because there was less noise but also because there was less attention seeking. My experience on that platform simply felt more authentic, and I loved it for that.


There’s that, too. But some of these cases aren’t technically Dunning Kruger because it’s not about ignorance of knowledge/skill sets outside their expertise. The information is relevant to these people’s jobs, is at least peripheral to their actual (ostensible) area of expertise, and they even have access to/knowledge of the information itself - and they still say, “The data may say one thing - but I know better than the data!” And then they go off and do the wrong thing, even though it doesn’t benefit them/the company any. As you say, it’s poor assumptions, underlying biases, being inflexible and overconfident (or even narcissistic or suffering from some other personality defects).

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The groups work ok. I don’t use it for anything else.

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