Facebook has expanded the amount of human raters to help its algorithms decide what should appear in the News Feed from just the US to around the world.
That’s one of the big ticket takeaways from a Slate.com article that was published late Sunday. Similar to an article that was published a year ago on Medium, when there was talk from Facebook about what they called the “Feed Quality Panel,” which is a group of regular Facebook users who are paid by the company to provide daily feedback on News Feed content. During that time, the panel was limited to around 600 people all located in the US, but according to Slate, Facebook became so reliant on the feedback given y this group that it expanded the panel internationally late this last summer.
Here’s a bit from the article that shares some interesting details about how Facebook takes what it learns from the human raters and integrates it into the News Feed:
…[T]he algorithm is so precious to Facebook that every tweak to the code must be tested — first in an offline simulation, then among a tiny group of Facebook employees, then on a small fraction of all Facebook users — before it goes live. At each step, the company collects data on the change’s effect on metrics ranging from user engagement to time spent on the site to ad revenue to page-load time. Diagnostic tools are set up to detect an abnormally large change on any one of these crucial metrics in real time, setting off a sort of internal alarm that automatically notifies key members of the news feed team.
It seems that Facebook has jumped onto the same bandwagon as Google and others — the bandwagon that says algorithms can only do so much. These companies need something a little extra…human feedback. This feedback is to help them understand what humans like and why we interact with certain kinds of content, and not others.