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Huge Ranking Failure For Facebook As News Feed Bug Spreads Wave Of Misinformation

A new report by the Verge has confirmed the existence of a bug in Facebook’s news feed, which has indirectly affected its ranking algorithm too.

The incident was reported to have taken place towards the end of last year and continued until March of this year.

While the bug remains unspecified, the incident is being referred to as a huge failure in rankings for the app, causing great concern for the company. Moreover, experts believe that it was undetected for a number of months, despite affecting nearly half of users’ views on their feed.

In case you were not already aware, the Facebook algorithm is systematically designed in a manner that down-ranks misinformation, including a number of materials that it deems to be problematic or borderline in nature.

However, last year during the fall season, it was observed how views regarding debunked misinformation started to show an increase of over 30%. Meanwhile, other types of content that should have been demoted weren’t.

Be it sensitive content like violence and abuse or even nudity and graphic content related to the ongoing Russian invasion, so many of the platform’s systems couldn’t accurately demote it all, as mentioned in the new report.

Later, Facebook’s team of engineers began realizing that something wasn’t quite right and that’s when they issued warnings about the incident that they considered to be a huge threat as it not only went unnoticed but also couldn’t be fixed until March 11th of this year.
The failure of engineers to find the root cause was also another alarming measure worth noticing by tech experts until recently.

This is a clear indication to so many of us about how complicated the ranking algorithms in Facebook are to those that work for the platform. And that’s also one of the many reasons why Whistleblowers claim more and more algorithms need to be more transparent to the outside world and miles away from ranking that’s solely based upon engagement.

For now, Facebook has responded to TheVerge’s request for comments on the situation. They confirmed how the bug is now fixed while adding how it did not have any meaningful or long-lasting implications over the app’s metrics.

Tech experts believe that whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure. The fact that it took the tech giant so long to develop a solution is a clear indication that the company must find better methods to help enhance its algorithm rankings.


Read next: Facebook’s Interest Targeting Algorithm is Only 66% Accurate, New Study Shows

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