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Graph Rank: Just Another Proof That Facebook Should Be Boycotted

A former CTO was briefed on ‘Facebook’s advertising strategy’ (although it’s not clear by who) and suggest that they are up to no good:

Anonymous via Betabeat

If you logged onto Facebook yesterday, perhaps you caught a link at the top of the News Feed that read: “About Ads: Ever wonder how Facebook makes money? Get the details.” The answers provided some context on the news that starting in January, Facebook will start integrating a type of ad, called “sponsored stories,” that display your friends faces next to content they have “liked” in larger-sized ads your News Feed mix. “Facebook makes its money from showing you ads,” the company told consumers yesterday and with the ramp up to its spring 2012 IPO, the social network is getting serious about that endeavor.

In what seemed like an unrelated move, in September, Facebook announced a brand new type of profile called Timeline, where your whole personal history is laid out by month-by-month, all the way back to your birth. At the time, Facebook described it to consumers as a chance to: “Share and highlight your most memorable posts, photos and life events on your timeline. This is where you can tell your story from beginning, to middle, to now.” By the end of this year all 800 million plus Facebook profiles will have been converted to this new interface.

What most users don’t know is that the new features being introduced are all centered around increasing the value of Facebook to advertisers, to the point where Facebook representatives have been selling the idea that Timeline is actually about re-conceptualizing users around their consumer preferences, or as they put it, “brands are now an essential part of people’s identities.” 

The name itself is cleverly designed to conceal the fact that your profile no longer arranges information chronologically. Yes, things are laid out by year and by month. But, when it comes to what’s displayed to your social circle at any given time, other metrics, including direct payments to Facebook itself, will now influence the ranking and placement of stories. This payola will be a crucial part of the graph rank, the new metric for placement that the social network uses to determine what appears on your profile.

“Graph Rank” is a complex and non-published algorithm, but we know direct payments to Facebook and app/user popularity are important parts of the ranking. The newest thing is no longer on top. There is a rough month-by-month sort, but within the month it’s graph rank, not chronological order, that determines placement.

So, Facebook is selling our memories — outr timeline — to advertisers. When users scroll back in their timeline the weighting of what was most important to us back in December 2011, say, will be based on advertising dollars, not something intrinsic to our lives, or the social weighting of the interactions we had with friends. 

Everyone should simply stop using Facebook. It’s been obvious for years that they could care less about it: we are an ore that they are mining for money. We are not people to them, except to the extent that our human qualities provide a way to exploit us.

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