It’s a bird?
It’s a plane?
NO! It’s a rocket!
A couple of days ago a tiny little rocket appeared on the Facebook mobile app with no announcement of what it was.
People. Freaked. Out:
Alongside the new ‘story’ add-on, this is the most change we’ve seen to the Facebook app since the introduction of ‘reactions’ last year.
So what exactly is it? Well, it’s the start of Facebook filtering the news users receive.
We’ve already seen the progression of the timeline, where Facebook predicts what content you would most like to see by pushing those videos/photos/posts to the top of your feed and this is the logical next step; creating a newsfeed that does the same thing, keeping users within Facebook so they never have to leave, EVER.
This is what Facebook had to say about the rocket icon:
“We are testing a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, customised for each person based on content that might be interesting to them.
“We’ve heard from people they want an easy way to explore new content they haven’t connected with yet.”
So what does it all mean? Well, the content displayed on the ‘rocket feed’ is from pages you don’t follow or haven’t liked. So should users be worried by what Facebook are up to?
A big part of why social media boomed is down to the user being able to choose what they see, rather than have things pushed at them that they have no interest in. So should users worry only certain stories and content will be pushed to users looking to discover new content? Perhaps.
It signifies a continued trend of Facebook controlling what users are influenced by. We all remember when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was accused of influencing the USA presidential election with the rise of fake news (which he categorically denies), so what is stopping Facebook promoting news that bigger powers want the world to hear? If our world and interests are dominated by algorithms, we’ll live in a fake bubble, and as more and more people get their news from the Facebook newsfeed, this is frankly worrying.
Social media can be a dangerous thing when you are trapped in an echo chamber, but clearly Facebook doesn’t think so.