5 ways Facebook control what you can and cannot see

1) The information bubble
facebook-logoWhat you see in your Facebook home-feed is based on your actions from the past. If you have a tendency to read or “like” certain information, Facebook works towards showing you that type of information more often in the future. This means that if you “like” a lot of cat and baby photos then you’re going to see more cat and baby photos in the future.

Sounds great? Not really, because this sort of repetition replaces other information that you would have likely preferred. Variety is the spice of life but instead you’re in an echo chamber, where the news that you tend to like gets fed to you more often, reinforcing existing notions rather than challenging them.

Because of this, you are more likely to see another baby photo, instead of that hilarious photo of your friend being drunk from last weekend. On a more serious note, if you tend to “like” left-wing type policies, wouldn’t you like to see what else is out there on the political spectrum? To challenge your views or at least chuckle at?

2) One house-gathering can publicly display it’s location on the Internet
A few friends came over and tagged themselves, now my house has a page about it on Facebook. This page displays a list of who came, with a map showing it’s exact location. This page is publicly viewable by anyone with or without a Facebook account, and it appears in Google when anyone does a search specific enough to reveal it.

I have tried numerous times to report it to Facebook but the page is still yet to be removed after several months.

3) General control of information
In the spirit of being a “positive” place to hang out, Facebook likes to hide certain information that can actually hinder it’s use when it comes to creating content. A typical example can be seen when creating an event. Facebook neglects to tell you who has declined to turn up to an event. This can make it difficult to follow up or make other arrangements depending on who declined or agreed to turn up.

4) Restricting access to your own content
Remember posting a link to a certain article a few months ago? Good luck trying to find it. Facebook likes to decide what you can see when it comes to viewing your own time-line. There are ways to get around it but Facebook doesn’t make it easy.

5) Controlling third party links
Numerous times I have sent website links to friends via instant messaging to only have them blocked by Facebook. It’s control of this type of content is not just limited to what’s deemed inappropriate, it also includes content that is seen as a conflict of interest.

Still trust Facebook?

All of the above points are what I have personally experienced by using Facebook. If that isn’t enough to make you think, here’s an article detailing one of the many experiments they have done without users knowing. The following Facebook experiment manipulated the moods of users to see what happens http://www.appy-geek.com/Web/ArticleWeb.aspx?regionid=4&articleid=25223415&m=d