Topic-Based Filter for Facebook Feed

Facebook-Connecting-People-Sharing-StoriesMost of us today begin our day checking what’s the latest on our Facebook feed. We want to know what our friends on Facebook are sharing with us. In fact, one study has suggested that our brain is now tuned to check Facebook every 31 seconds!

Dislike on Facebook:

With such rampant Facebook addition, it can create a lot of pain if your Facebook feed is filled with items which you dislike. Your friends may be sharing posts on topics which you are not only not interested in, but may actually want to avoid it. This can make your Facebook experience miserable, possibly resulting in reduced usage. Facebook needs to provide an option for me to mute feed items related to a topic and keep my feed clean and pleasant as per my tastes! I don’t want to mute people who are sharing posts on the topic, but just the irritating content on that topic which I personally dislike.

Examples of such situation are:

  1. Digital India campaign: When India’s PM Modi met Mark Zuckerberg and everyone was changing their profile pictures to show support for Digital India campaign, my Facebook feed was filled with those tri-colored pictures. Not related to whether I support this campaign or not, I just didn’t want my feed to get encroached so heavily with these pictures, pushing down other relevant feed items.
  2. Death of APJ Abdul Kalam: When India’s former President APJ Abdul Kalam died, there was a huge outpouring of grief on Facebook. It was more of a fad than any actual feelings for the good man.
  3. Indian Parliament Election 2014: Same happened during election for Indian Parliament in 2014. The fight between Modi and Gandhis often took ugly turns on Facebook with people making allegations, spreading baseless rumors and so on. It was a total slug-fest with pigs rolling deep in mud and spreading it all over my Facebook feed.

The list can grow more, with controversial topics like beef-ban in India, reservation policy in India, Donald Trumph’s presidential candidature and what not. Facebook needs to provide me an option hide feeds related to such topics.

Possible Solution:

Facebook already provides option for me to suggest to Facebook that I don’t want to see a particular post. See the implementation below:

Facebook - Dont Like the post - step 1

Facebook - Dont Like the post - step 2

Facebook’s machine learning algorithms must be getting activated and trying to understand what this post was about and accordingly suppressing any similar posts from my feed in future. But it would be nice if they can allow me add a hashtag to specify the topic about which this story is, and later use that hashtag to black-listing feeds.

In this example, I dislike the religious intolerance and my friend equating it to Church’s terrorism. In general, I find this friend of mine to be good guy, but he has extreme views on religion in general, which I hate. I have found that when I mark this post as “annoying or not interesting”, I now stop none of this friend’s update – may they be on any topic, and also less of feeds related to plays and church. That was not what I intended to achieve!

Instead, if I was given option to tag it as #ReligiousIntolerance or some similar hashtag, possibly Facebook can pick up many more similar posts from different people talking about all type of religious tolerance. Facebook already offers a hashtag based search in their feed, but it is more of catching-up game with Twitter rather than actually using it for their core advantage of connecting people and encouraging sharing.

Going a step further, this can also be extended to ask users to hashtag their friends posts. Like tagging people to photos, these can be either made permission-based or made visible only to me (and be hidden from the friend who made the post). Facebook maybe already doing this internally to categorize and group feeds, but a little help from users can go a long way in improving this functionality.

 

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