You can tell a lot about a person about how they react to something.
The Facebook Algorithm Is Watching You
That’s why the various “Like” buttons on Facebook are so powerful. Clicking on a reaction icon is not just a way to record an emotional response, it’s also a way for Facebook to refine your perception of who you are. So if you “love” a picture of a friend’s baby and click on “Angry” in an article about the New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl, you’re training Facebook to see you in a certain way: you’re one Person who loves to babies and hates Tom Brady.
The more you click, the more sophisticated the idea of Facebook becomes who you are. (Remember, although the response options are now limited, such as Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry, there was only a “Like” button until about last year.
This is important because of what Facebook could do with their sense of their baby-loving self, Tom-Brady-Hate. It could mean that Facebook will show you more pictures of babies and less articles about football, which in turn could affect the friends that appear more frequently and prominently in your News Feed. And that could affect your perception of the world.
It may mean that you see sponsored publications directed to parents of young children. Or it could mean that Facebook shows you a huge amount of Tom Brady posts a week as a way to provoke you, Facebook has a history of experimenting with its users, after all.
“Facebook has carried out covert experiments on its users to assess how Facebook can emotionally influence people,” says Ben Grosser, artist and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “They already have a lot of power.” For an algorithm and a corporation to access which of the things in your feed are more reactive, it’s really useful information that tells them not only to adapt the content to what they think you like, but that They can push you. ”
Grosser’s latest project is an attempt to retreat. He made a browser extension called Go Rando, which he intercepts each time he clicks on a reaction button on Facebook, then uses a random number generator to select a reaction for you. “If you click on ‘I like it’, it is possible that you get ‘Angry’ or have ‘Haha’ or that they make you ‘Sad’,” Grosser told me. “Users can still scroll and select a specific reaction if they wish, but they will randomize their reactions to them.”
“I want people to think who is reading this information,” Grosser told me. “We think of [clicking on the reaction buttons for the benefit of] our friends, but the main consumers of this data are not our friends, it’s for the news feed algorithm, the message advertising profile, the predictive analysis. these different systems that seek to extract this data, hoping to understand our hopes or fears as a way to decide how to sell something, as a way to decide if we are dangerous, as a way to decide whether or not we are worthy of obtaining a loan ”
Grosser admits that, in reality, using browser extensions is, at times, uncomfortable. Like when a friend of his shared good news: excitement about opening a new art exhibition. Grosser clicked the “Like” button and Go Rando selected a sad reaction for him. “Many of my friends have seen me post about my project, but they’re still baffled,” he says, “It’s like, ‘What’s going on, why are you sad?’ It forces people to get into this conversation about what they are the reactions and how they can mean something or not mean something, or how they can be interpreted. ”
Scrolling through a news feed and clicking on the reaction buttons can seem as ethereal as greeting a friend from across a crowded room. It is not.
“It’s almost compulsive and involuntary behavior at this point,” Grosser said. “I think a lot of people can identify with the feeling of ‘pleasing’ something even if they really do not like it, because it’s important to indicate presence or have seen the article.”
The bottom line is this: every time you click on a button on Facebook, every time you tell a friend that you’ve seen what they posted, Facebook sees it back.
Facebook is watching and tracking you more than you realize
Three deceptive companies that follow you:
Most people understand that Facebook tracks their preferences every time they use the application. But few realize that they are persecuted in another way. And that’s what these third-party providers are all about. If you do not know what is being tracked, you will not be asked to quit. So, here are three things to watch out for.
- Facebook applications: when you receive a request to play a Facebook game that your friends are obsessed with and you decide to register. If you have ever done this before, you have allowed that application developer to track you. These third-party applications are integrated with your Facebook profile and you can request permission from Facebook to extract various personal data, from your work history to the publications of the timeline. And although you can edit the information they can access, very few people do.
- Log in to Facebook: when you visit a site and say “Log in with Facebook,” and you do, then you’re allowing that company to track you.
- Apps from friends who monitor you: even if you did not download an application, your Facebook settings may allow applications that your friends installed to see you as well. It is quite scary.
- Review and edit the installed applications: to see what applications you have installed over the years, open Facebook in your browser, click the down arrow in the upper right corner and select “Settings.” Then click on the “Applications” heading in the column on the left.
To see what information an application is accessing, click the pencil icon next to any of the applications to view and edit the configuration. The first configuration allows you to establish who can see that you use the application. By default, it’s “Just me”, so it’s not a big problem. Below, however, there is another story.
- Remove the applications you do not use: if you no longer want to use the application, you can click on the “Delete application” link at the bottom of the page. Just remember that this will not automatically remove your information from the application developer’s servers. For that, you will have to contact the developer of the application directly. Facebook has a link to get more information about this in the section “Delete information collected by the application” in the configuration of the application.
- Disable applications completely: if you deleted all applications and do not want to accidentally install more in the future, you can completely disable the application platform. Just keep in mind that you will not be able to install applications or log in to third party sites using Facebook until you activate it again.
To deactivate the application platform, return to the Application Settings page. In “Applications, websites and add-ons”, click on the “Edit” button. At first, this seems like a way to disable notifications of applications and other people’s invitations, which is a great help in itself. However, you will want to click on the “Disable platform” link in the lower left corner.
Facebook gives you the standard warning about what does the platform disable. If you agree with that, click on the “Disable platform” button. Again, this will not eliminate the information that the developers of the application have already collected about you.
Stop logging in to sites that use Facebook: in the future, when you add an application or log in to a website, try to avoid logging in with Facebook. But, if you must use Facebook to log in, look for the option “Log in anonymously” or “Guest” so that you do not share your information.
Prevent your friends’ applications from seeing your information: applications can still get their information through their friends. As your friends install applications, those applications may request permission to obtain information about you.
To stop this, return to the Application Settings page. Then, in “Applications that others use,” click on the “Edit” button.
You will see everything that your friends’ applications can see about you. Review and uncheck all the options listed on the page and then click “Save.” Now companies can not track new information about you.
The applications are not the only concern you’ll find on Facebook. I recently told you how scammers use Facebook, how agriculture can put your privacy at risk. Discover how similar agriculture works and how you can avoid it.