Facebook should go back to the chronological feed, for your sake and for ours

Although there are several fronts that have open social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, an important part of them is directly related to the algorithms of content recommendation. An element that, in its origins, sought to detect which content was most interesting for each user, in order to make them more interesting for them and, of course, thus increase the time we spend on the networks.

Stated in this way, which sounds particularly innocent today, this is supposed to be good for both parties: users, who would receive the information they are most interested in, and networks, which would increase user retention time, which is a key element in your business plans. The problem is that, over time, yese has proven that these algorithms can be exploited (and often are) with malicious intent.

Thus, Facebook has become a great Persian bazaar for fake news and misinformation, and in combination with other platform problems, has been used in such regrettable and memorable cases like the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Now, the most remarkable thing about all this is that, although five years ago this was a scandal, to this day Facebook is still used to intoxicate public opinion, and as we have learned, its executives have opted for more than one occasion to look the other way, and users already take it for the most normal thing in the world.

Now at last regulators and users are beginning to push for Facebook and the rest of social networks abandon these algorithms at once and, instead, return to the original system by which the contents were displayed: the chronological order. A change that, when it occurred in the opposite direction, that is, when the networks began to select and order content based on the criteria of their algorithm, was not particularly positively received by users. I still remember when it happened in Twitter, and how the social network was filled with criticism for the change.

Today we know from Business Insider that Frances Haugen has joined this petition. And if you have followed the news of the last weeks, you will have already recognized in that name the former Facebook worker who, after having been part of the Facebook integrity team, that is, of those responsible for preventing hoaxes and false news in the social network. And Frances goes even further than the US House of Representatives, which advocates offering both versions.

The current situation for Facebook and company is quite complicated, and in the particular case of Facebook it is necessary to add the problem they have to reach the young population. Give up its algorithm or, at least, offer the possibility of configuring the service so that, by default, it shows the publications in chronological order, it would be the first positive point that the social network could score in a long time. It will? In principle it does not seem likely, unless it is due to legal pressure. However, avoiding that confrontation would be a very smart measure, and a show of respect to its users.

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