This is the second post in my Facebook™ algorithm series. In the first one, I talked about hacking your news feed so if you missed it, you can click here to catch up.
Does Facebook™ think you’re a Republican?
Facebook™ has placed you into a political category, based on engagement data. That is, the data you are providing the algorithm. What category are you in? Did you know that you can check?
For the last few days, I have been asked about this and I have seen the above graphic more than once in my news feed. Let’s talk about why Facebook™ “thinks” it can politically categorize you.
I have a friend we will call “Dean” to protect his privacy (that’s the next blog post in case you’re wondering about your privacy on Facebook™ and other social media sites).
Dean sends me an email last Tuesday that goes a little something like this:
Yeah. Facebook™ is telling people I’m a conservative. Who do they think they are? I’m deleting my account and telling all my friends to do that same. You should find a new line of work.
So Dean logs in and posts about how Facebook™ has stepped over the line and how we all are in danger of having our information shared. He wants everyone to go and check because HOW DARE FACEBOOK™ put him in that category.
DUDE. YOU PUT YOURSELF INTO THAT CATEGORY
I had to gently let him know how we are bucketed and our interests tracked by the algorithm and he had, in fact, hacked his own experience on Facebook™ and every other social media platform he was using.
Our conversation went back and forth, so I’ll just summarize for you. It’s important to note that I am listed as moderate because it’s a rare event for me to share anything related to religion or politics. I’m well aware of how to hack my news feed 🙂
Dean dislikes President Trump greatly and is very vocal about it. In algorithmic terms, he’s moving through the matrix (he has shared many posts about Mr. Trump so he is obviously very supportive as well as interested) and he’s routed by programming logic. His variables have incremented.
This is where the algorithm is limited
There is no way for it to know that although Dean shares many political posts, he shares to debate or talk about his beliefs and that they are NOT supportive. In no way does Dean support our president. In fact, the algorithm thinks that he wants to see MORE so not only is his new feed chock full of political posts in support of the president, Facebook™ has categorized Dean as a conservative based on his engagement.
The algorithm bases it’s logical flow based on YOU. What you like, comments on, share and post, in other words, engagement.
If it’s Facebook’s goal to show you content that is relevant, how do they determine what is RELEVANT?
They determine it based on on your activity and engagement, so even you are sharing something you disagree with, the more you share it, the more the algorithm thinks you want. Facebook™ strives to give you what you want. To put the kind of content relevant to your interests all over your news feed to increase engagement.
When they announced that reach would decline for business pages who weren’t posting relevant content, businesses went crazy. True story. If they only took the time to write content that engages their readers, their content would stay in the news feed. Why? Facebook™ is showing relevant posts, so if you aren’t putting engaging content out there, no one engages. If no one engages, you lose your spot in the news feed because the lack of activity tells the algorithm that you – simply put – are just NOT RELEVANT.
Engagement establishes your interests and categories
It’s all about what you engage with, good or bad. That’s it. If you share hateful, terrible shit, you’ll get hateful, terrible shit. If you share love and uplifting posts, you’ll get more of the same. You have the power to list all of your interests and information in your profile settings, but until you declare your variable, your tags are changing as you flow through the matrix.
So, in conclusion, if you are unhappy with the algorithmic categorization of your news feed, think about what you’re engaging with. Hack your feed and create your own reality here – you have all of the power.