Facebook has tried algorithms and surveys to help create the perfect News Feed, and now the social network is apparently turning to actual people.
Steven Levy of Backchannel reported that Facebook is paying some 600 users to interact with their News Feeds four hours per day on a modified version of the social network, in an effort to make better decisions on what its users want and don’t want to see in their News Feeds.
Levy reported that an office park in Knoxville, Tenn., is one of the locations where this project is ongoing, adding that 30 people there work out of an office with a Facebook-inspired open floor plan, and even some of the motivational posters that are found at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
According to Levy, the 600 or so participants click a button on a special version of Facebook, and they are served the 30 top News Feed stories, personalized for each user, as determined under the social network’s current formula. The posts are generated in random order.
The participants go through each story, Levy reported, interacting as they would if they were using Facebook on their own: ignoring posts, commenting, liking, sharing, clicking through links.
They then answer eight questions, including how they felt about the story, how much they care about the user who posted the story, whether they felt that the story was appropriate for their News Feed, how entertaining they found the story, and whether it helped connect them to friends and family.
Finally, participants are tasked with writing one paragraph on each story, explaining their overall feelings about that story.
Levy reported that Facebook Menlo Park staffers occasionally visit the office in Knoxville and other, similar facilities to speak with participants face-to-face and quiz them. Read more…