Facebook is creeping on your News Feed habits

Facebook Creeping

If you thought Facebook's all-seeing eye was pervasive before, the social media giant is now tweaking its algorithm to analyze how long you look at a post in your News Feed.

As ominous as it seems, it's likely that Facebook is adjusting its algorithm because the like/commen/share system doesn't fully represent users' interests. With the current method, your News Feed is primarily built from patterns in your interactions with certain posts.

The problem with this is there are certain stories in your News Feed that you certainly care about, but don't necessarily want to see "you like this" underneath. You could comment and show your interest and/or concern that way, but if you're a more passive Facebook user, most of your comments are probably relegated to friends and family.

So, to make a more accurate News Feed, Facebook will essentially keep tabs on how long you hover on certain items. If you linger on a post for long enough, Facebook will start to take that into account and increasingly pepper in similar posts in your feed. Conversely, if you rapidly scroll through certain posts in your feed (think endless wedding photos,) Facebook will take your social distastes and log them.

The future of the feed

The only halfway-concerning part with this algorithm change is that it effectively removes the user from deciding what's in his or her news feed, a gradual progression that's been maligned by Facebook users for years. I think almost everyone can relate to the strings of top 10 lists and adorable (yet annoying) baby photos conquering feeds.

It's definitely going to take some time to perfect the new system. For example, I'd hate to accidentally hover over a cat meme while I make a cup of coffee. The algorithm will most likely be gradually implemented, as the social network improves its accuracy. Still, be careful of what you look at: Facebook's watching.