Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Advertising Algorithm FAIL

Today was perhaps the worst of a series of bad days in Seattle. Gun violence here has been incredible.

A man suspected of shooting five people at a University District cafe — and a woman later on First Hill — shot himself as police closed in.

Turns out today's maniac — mentally ill of course, god forbid we hospitalize these folks — once lived next door to my son Nick, who called me this afternoon to mention that the SWAT team was in his back yard and cops were busting into the neighbors' place. (One of the shootings took place in a coffee shop down the street which Nick frequents.)

What has this to do with UI text, you might ask?

Well, see, I spent a fair amount of time on Facebook today monitoring the situation and chatting back and forth with friends, family, and Nick.

And here, several hours after the fact, FB blithely displays for me a bunch of Recommended Pages in the sidebar, including "Books" (3 of my friends like) and "Shooting" (1,668,817 people like).

Aside from that nauseating statistic, why the frack does Facebook want to recommend THAT to ME, TODAY of all days?

Oh, and when I delete that one, I get "Guns" (1,987,504 likes). I guess I should be grateful that there are 318,687 weirdos on Facebook who just like guns but not shooting them.

And my point is?

I figure it has to be that FB is monitoring my posts, or the posts I recently commented on, and finding the common denominator. Which in the case of chatting about movies or music or cars or Twinkies or whatever would be insidious enough, but where their algorithm FAILS is not deducing that I'm posting about guns and shooting not because I like them but because I think they're an abomination.

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