Facebook users are really good at ignoring anything that looks like an ad. Even people who actively use social media to connect with their customers are opting out of Facebook for good. And since Facebook is in business to make money through advertising, this is a problem.
So they are doing what they are really good at: Mining the data to come up with a solution.
“Facebook took some heat over the weekend when New Scientist revealed that the company had secretly manipulated the feeds of more than 600,000 users for a psychological study about how positive or negative posts affected users’ own emotions,” writes Evie Nagy in Fast Company. “But some of the social network’s content-testing techniques are almost comically out in the open.”
According to Nagy, Facebook has been polling some of its users by showing them posts that may or may not be ads, and asking them to rate whether the posts feel like ads or not.
Are they doing this to make sure their users are happy and only getting the content they like? Not likely, according to Nagy.
“The purpose of the survey isn’t explicit, but we imagine Facebook is looking to integrate sponsored content that feels more social and less commercial, so that users take a longer look. Either that, or they just came up with a novel way to get you to view a few more ads,” Nagy continues.
On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do we not like this?
While they have every right to conduct user research, the idea of masking advertising as legitimate content just doesn’t go down well. We are tired of being swindled, poked and prodded, and we are on to you.