FACEBOOK TREND, A Fantastically Stupid Setup….

By: Ben Iyoha

Quite a lot of people don’t even know Facebook has a trend neither do they know how to know what’s trending of Facebook. For someone like myself who’s a “digital native” and who from time to time get paid for specific demands from clients it became worrisome when I researched the Facebook trend and realized errors and misdoings of Facebook with regards to its trend.

Under every normal tech-cum-digital circumstance, trends should aggregate and page rank with the use of algorithm. What this means is that a topic or news article should naturally trend when so many people are talking about this same thing at a given time or period. The Facebook narrative is entirely and arrantly different, it appears Facebook deliberately always want to circumvent the wheel by deliberately fixing in what they wants to trend. 

An example of this narrative is on the accounts of former Facebook staffs who revealed how they manually inserted the “Black Lives Matter” topic into its trending news feed in order to artificially boost the movement’s popularity and in turn boost the Facebook brand, this revelation was according to her former employee who curated news for the site. Note, this only happened after Black-American Facebook users continuously ranted about not having a topic on this subject despite all the posts and mentions. 

Bring it down to Nigeria, Facebook is the most used social network here in our fatherland and it surprised me to note that upon the many issues and topics we discuss here none ever makes it to the Facebook trend table. If an algorithm was used and the trend-table was geo-enabled then why wont we have issues and topics like Fuel Scarcity, Buhari, Lai Mohammed, Nigeria Decides, The death of Stephen Keshi, Amodu Shuaibu, OJB Jezreel on the trends table while the issues lasted but what you see on the Facebook trends-table are entirely American issues and stories that we aren't even discussing here.

At 1pm pacific May 9th, Facebook said in a statement to TechCrunch that it was against the company’s curation policy to suppress or prioritize specific political views in its Trending topics, and that it has guidelines in place to preserve consistency and neutrality there.

This necessarily implied that people like me who get paid to get by contractors to trend it shows or wares on Facebook aren't being manipulated. 

In the statement responding to Gizmodo’s report that organic and conservative trends were suppressed in Facebook’s Trending section, Facebook wrote:

“We take allegations of bias very seriously. Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum. Trending Topics shows you the popular topics and Hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook. There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality. These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or one news outlet over another. These guidelines do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in Trending Topics.”

The bloody truth about this Facebook statement is that it further entrenches the notion that Facebook doesn't even put Africa in its considerations least to talk of Nigeria. Anyway, we've never been considered at any time past. 

Looking forward, as Africans and as Nigerians who also have a voice and with a large presence on Facebook, Facebook must allow a symbiotic relationship and not a parasitic one-sided one. Facebook should also note that because we represent the user-generated content ideology which Facebook leverages on and needs to survive as web 2.0 dictates our trends must be typified, geo-tagged and prioritized. They must remember that the ideas upon which Facebook was created is that the users provide the content while Facebook only avails us the platform (User-generated Content), so why force down on us contents that are not ours if it's not a fantastically stupid setup? 

PS. To know what trends on Facebook place your cursor on the search tab on Facebook and allow for a few seconds to buffer, naturally all the trend topics appears below (For Mobile Device) apparently, not yet enabled for web users in Nigeria/Africa.


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