With the recent changes to its news feed algorithm, Facebook knows which videos you watch every day. Some say the social media giant is getting closer and closer to being a less severe modern-day version of Big Brother. But how does this work?
The website has integrated in its news feed mechanism a few coding lines which now permit it to automatically monitor the videos you un-mute, expand to full-screen, or opt to watch in HD. Using the gathered data, the algorithm then updates the suggestions that appear on your homepage to what the shrouded minds behind the wall of code presume would be more relevant videos.
The problem with this approach, as you may have sensed (and they’ve been criticized for it), is that it gratuitously assumes that those videos are exactly what we, the humble users, would like to see more of. Or, how many times did you take the click bait by whatever random page and been thus lured into watching a few seconds of a video you wouldn’t have otherwise watched?
You don’t have to like, or share, or comment on the video for Facebook to think that you liked it.
This all points to a possible strategy of Facebook for introducing video ads. Facebook videos views, as recently shown in a statement by the company, went up by three billion in just eight months. That is, from one billion in September to four billion in April. Mind you, though, that even a three-four second play is counted as a view in the mind of Facebook.
Two Facebook employees, Meihond Wang and Yue Zhuo, explained in a blog post the reasoning behind the latest change. They say that users might be inclined to click an informative video which they find to their liking, yet do not automatically give said video a like, or a share.
This update follows the steps taken through the news feed improvements the social media site brought to users last summer, after the debate over whether people actually watch videos on Facebook or not.
Through this move, Facebook may be leaning more and more towards the domain of its, YouTube (i.e. Google Inc.). However this may not yet be seen as a direct attack, since Facebook has from the beginning had video streaming services, although it was not overtly set on video content.
The main advantage that Facebook has, is of course, its feed.
So, is Facebook trying to conquer new grounds in front of YouTube, or is this just a simple algorithm update?
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