You’ve likely read umpteen articles about Facebook’s news feed algorithm over the last couple of years: how it narrows down the 1,500 daily posts the average user could see in their feed to around 300, and the declining “organic” reach of posts from pages as Facebook’s advertising business grows. If you have the stomach for one more piece, make it Steven Levy’s explanation on Medium of how Facebook’s new algorithmic weapon is… humans? Yep, humans.
“Essentially, Facebook has determined that algorithms alone are not enough to determine the makeup of one’s News Feed,” he explains, with quotes from the company’s chief product officer Chris Cox on why it has 600 humans providing direct feedback to help Facebook tune its algorithm. “It comes from the intuition that you can only get so far by looking at online behaviours… what you really want is to sit down with 1.2 billion people, every single one, and ask them to go through and point at ‘I really loved that one.’ Why did you really love that one? ‘Well I really liked that one because it’s from a person I went to high school with and I use Facebook to stay in touch with people from high school.’ Why did you hate this one? “I really hated this one because I really hate memes.’”