There’s a water crisis on the other side of the planet.Your old friend’s brother unexpectedly and tragically died. Do you like it? Better yet, do you love it? Does it make you sad or angry? Does it make you say “wow”?
Facebook has upgraded the ubiquitous Like button with a host of new emotions. You can now “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad” or “angry” something with cute emojis. You can “wow” a friend’s appalling Tinder screengrab, send them a “sad” for emotional support during a period of anxiety or just “haha” their wack memes in sympathy.
Why? Likes have always felt a little callous in situations that aren’t exactly positive, but we’ve never had a better option. The new emojis give us a range of emotions to react with. An “angry” reaction just feels natural for responding to someone’s vacation album. “Love” is perfect for a relationship update.
But just remember this: For every little inch of emotional nuance we gain from these buttons, Facebook gains a mile in the ways it can manipulate and keep tabs on us.
Facebook is constantly trying to figure out what will keep you glued to your News Feed longer. Every like, every share and every click or tap is more data to feed the Facebook algorithms. It’s like watering a tree that sinks its roots deeper and deeper. And with each interaction, Facebook knows you better.
Facebook knows this about you, and it will use the information to tailor your News Feed to things Facebook thinks you want to see.
This tailoring of your feed affects how news organizations report and distribute valuable information, and it’s influencing how political campaigns shape their messages.
Your Facebook feed could be a source of inspiration. It could inform you, challenge your political beliefs or expose you to new art and ideas. But Facebook’s main interest is to grab your attention and keep you scrolling and clicking. It’s meant to keep you more engaged, but more often than not, you end up just searching endlessly for something interesting.
Notice all of the videos you see lately? Facebook figured out that video holds people’s attention, so now it feeds you more punchy videos than articles. This is why your News Feed is now filled with food porn clips and one-minute segments summarizing breaking news. Continue Reading