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Mon, 16 Aug 2010

Is Facebook intentionally skewing the marketplace?


OK, so my girlfriend fell asleep on the couch. A little later I browsed by facebook, where lo and behold, she just became a fan of The Big Bang Theory, specifically 11 minutes ago:

Is Facebook lying?

Curious whether someone was fooling around, I clicked on her profile, where everything looked normal, and there was no mention of any Big Bang Theory. In fact, I had to hunt around quite a bit to find out whether she was actually a fan of The Big Bang Theory at all (for the record, she was). So this got me wondering what's going on.

Being an avid conspirator, I see the possibility that someone at Facebook decided it would be better to target users with a given profile, by showing that status when they are on, rather than when it happened. But why would they do such a thing? Because they have the profile of those who like The Big Bang Theory? Or because they got paid to do so, and received information on likely profiles? Or was it just a bug? Maybe I fit the profile of someone who likes TBBT, and if someone else is interacting with their page right now, it's more likely for me to do the same, rather than if it happened an hour ago?

In any case, Facebook has enough force for this to matter. If this is on purpose, they are misrepresenting their users' actions, which is wrong. If this is the case, they need correction. If it's a bug, it should be corrected. It may seem like a minor issue, but I don't recall any company I've been affiliated with getting extra attention on Facebook - perhaps because someone already more popular (or just luckier) got it instead?

And I'm also curious what Facebook is showing my friends about me right now...



posted at: 14:58 | path: /2010/08 | permanent link to this entry