Facebook

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24aaffa670e634a7da9a087bfa83abe6_200x200.png Facebook is a popular content hosting silo and activity aggregator most well known for being the largest centralized social network on the web.

Exporting your data

You can export your data on Facebook by:

Alternatively, freedom.io (source) can copy all of your posts, photos, checkins, etc. to WordPress, Tumblr, or Blogger, creating a new blog post for each, with the original dates and all comments, etc. intact.

To export all photos in an album owned by others (such as all photos in which you are tagged):

To export Facebook messages:

POSSE out to

Main article: POSSE to Facebook

There are multiple ways to POSSE out some things from your indieweb site to your Facebook profile. Specifically, you can POSSE posts and event RSVPs, but as of the 2.x Facebook API, not comments or likes. Comments and likes can't be PESOSed either.

Existing techniques:

from Twitter

  • Tantek POSSEs notes, articles by name + permalink, replies (including RSVPs) out from tantek.com to Twitter, and then uses the Twitter/FB integration functionality to cascade (except for plain replies) that POSSEing from Twitter to Facebook. Reasons:
    • insufficient marginal utility in writing a custom POSSE syndicator to FB.
    • FB just gets abbreviated summaries (thus placing more value on tantek.com original posts).
    • Exception: In 2014 Tantek started occasionally manually using Bridgy Publish to POSSE a few longer and more significant posts (notes and articles) directly from tantek.com to Facebook.
  • tommorris does likewise, because he's lazy.

IFTTT

Bridgy

You can use Bridgy to POSSE Facebook posts and event RSVPs. Details here.

Bridgy used to support POSSEing comments and likes, but Facebook's 2.x API disabled that.

Facebook API

Main article: POSSE to Facebook

Posting to one's wall is supported with the Facebook 'Graph API'. See POSSE to Facebook for details and examples.

For broader overview of the Facebook API, see the Social Web WG analysis:

PESOS from

You can use the Facebook API to PESOS your posts, but as of the 2.x API, not your comments or likes.


Contents

Features

(this section is a stub, when it has been more well filled-in, move to top of page after dfn, similar to Twitter page)

Facebook has a number of interesting post types, each with different appearances and interfaces. Some better than others.

Status Update

Status updates are notes similar to Twitter tweets, that, including status updates with links (see below) are perhaps the most common type of top-level post on FB.

Link

Links posts are essentially status updates, but they have a different presentation due to the link-preview that is shown for the first link mentioned in the update.

Photo

Photo posts are perhaps the second most popular type of top-level post on FB.

Event

Main article: event#Facebook

Facebook's event posts were quite clean and nicely designed, until they started rolling out a new design on 2014-02-27. Here is the design just before that point:

20140227-facebook-event-example.png

Sometime in 2015(?specific date), Facebook launched a new event UI which includes:

  • a related events box in the right column, just underneath the "Invite Friends" box below the attendees box showing interested, going, invited numbers, as well as a few friends who have RSVPd at least interested/maybe or yes.

Comment

Comments are perhaps the overall most popular type of post, as people comment A LOT on other top-level posts, and Facebook has a two level notion of comment threading. That is, you can both comment on top-level posts, and comment on comments on top-level posts. The above event post screenshot demonstrates this two level commenting interface.

Aggregator

Facebook performs the function of a feed aggregator of all your friends' activities.

Some examples screenshots can be found here:

Analysis of some of the algorithms Facebook uses to choose what to display to users:

Comments Embed

Facebook has a feature called Comments Box which "is a social plugin that enables user commenting on your site." Indieweb sites can use it to embed a comments box on blog posts.

Though this does encourage your readers to sharecrop (on Facebook) their comments on your posts, it also provides them a single place to view their comments they've made across any/all sites that use Facebook for comments.

No indieweb community members are currently using this on their own sites.

IndieWeb community members that have tried this and their experience:

  • Aaron Parecki:
    • "Facebook tends to get more comments [than Disqus] for me probably because everyone has an account and is always logged in"[2]
    • "eventually I decided the quality of comments I was getting wasn't high enough and I didn't actually care about peoples' random crap they were leaving on my site"[3]

Anti-patterns

Some things that Facebook implements are actually anti-patterns and to be avoided:

Activities Examples

  • Alice shared Bob's status update.
  • Alice shared Bob's photo.
  • Alice likes Some Page.
  • Alice likes a photo.
  • Alice and 8 other friends wrote on Bob's timeline for his birthday.
  • Alice added 3 new photos to the album Some Album.
  • Alice updated her cover photo.
  • Alice changed her profile picture.
  • Alice commented on a link.
  • Alice shared a link.
  • Alice was tagged in Bob's photo.
  • Alice played 10 sounds on SoundCloud.
  • Alice added a job at Some Company to her timeline.
  • Alice likes a photo on Instagram.
  • Alice shared a story via Some Page.
  • Alice made your photo her profile picture fb-made-your-photo-their-profile-pic.png

rel-me

Facebook does not currently support rel-me on their user profiles.

However, they do have a "website" field in the UI which you can set.

And then applications that wish to use that field for a one-off rel-me equivalence test can access that through their API:

Careful parsing it, people often put multiple whitespace- or newline-separated urls.

Criticism

Summary on nearly all of the issues of Facebook: Get your loved ones off Facebook.

Comic about Facebook being a donut mobster, not allowing a donut maker to give their donuts to everyone that choose to get them

Algorithmic Filtering

Facebook uses a proprietary algorithm to show you a fraction (what they think you want to see) of the posts from your friends, and people & pages you follow. Up to 85% less than "all".[4]

This has been criticized many times.

API Degradation

Version 2.0[5] of the Facebook API mostly makes sensible changes to help tamp down spammy or privacy-violating apps (e.g. prevents you from seeing a user's friends unless the friends have also granted privileges to the app). But this change has broken some features that IndieWeb sites and Bridgy Publish depend on. Full discussion on IRC

  • Apps are given app-scoped user IDs now (i.e. they are unique to the application, as opposed to the global user IDs v1.0 used)
  • However, given a user's username, you can apparently no longer find their user ID.
  • Which means that you cannot get the post ID for a post from its URL.
    • For some posts you can look them up by /v2.2/{post-id} but most posts expect /v2.2/{user-id}_{post-id}, and there doesn't seem to be any predictable way to tell if a post wants the former id or the latter.

API Inconsistency

The ID for a number of comments has changed over time, resulting in Bridgy sending apparently duplicate mentions to the same post. The symptom is that the same comment will be received with an ID of the form USERID_POSTID, and later the same comment will have an ID with a different form, containing colons and apparently magic numbers.[6]

On 2015-04-07, Facebook support let us know that this "IDs like these can appear sometimes", and that it will not be fixed.

Downtime

Though typically rare and brief, Facebook does go down / offline from time to time, most recently.

2014-08-01 Outage

2014-08-01 CNBC: Facebook goes down for many users

  • 2014-08-01 ~9:00-9:40 flakey / intermittent availability with lots of "Something went wrong" messages, e.g. on a permalink page when logged in:

FB something wrong 2014-08-01.png

  • on a group page when logged in:

FB group down 2014-08-01.png

  • and on the home page:

facebook is down 20140801.png

  • on a previously loaded FB page, the "Notifications" globe drop-down just rotated a progress image for minutes and never loads:

FB notifications dropdown not loading 2014-08-01.png

Prefers Pageviews Over Efficient UX

Per the documentation in reader#Integrated_Activity_Reading, one of Facebook's UI experiments involved an integrated reading experience that showed by posts and other "activities" in a single reading stream:

gpnggaky8d1gog_small.jpg

What they found was that it was too efficient - users were reading things and not clicking to see additional pages.

Thus they abandoned the experiment, instead preferring a UI that generates more pageviews over a UI that is more efficient for users.

This may present an opportunity for IndieWeb UX to exceed silo UX.

Link Wrapper Problems

Link Wrapper Unreliability

Facebook's link wrapper lm.facebook.com sometimes has outages, thus breaking all links in content in Facebook.

E.g. 2014-08-10 ~21:25-21:32 (at least)

2014-222-lm-facebook-504-error.jpg

Hyperlink Fear Interstitial

BjNq5GbCUAAMf1Z.png

Facebook mobile app (apparently) warning the user about Twitter t.co link-wrapped links as having "a problem".

via https://twitter.com/kyle_wm/status/446818317408280576

Harmful to Body Image

Hand-approval required to post via API

Unless the application developer is the only user, Facebook now requires applications to be hand-approved by the Facebook team if they are to post to a user's stream. This requires an application logo, complete screenshot walkthrough, and full privacy policy.

Big data collection allows intrusive inference

Facebook's big data collection allows intrusive inference about you

Social experiment performed on users

  • A study published June 2, 2014 revealed that one week in 2012, Facebook tweaked the feeds of about 700,000 users to see if it could manipulate their mood and posting behavior [7]

Is Boring

Per grafitti in Minneapolis, 2014-234, photo by Tantek Çelik

2014-234-facebook-boring-grafitti.jpg

"FACEBOOK IS BORING *IRL*"

Real Name demands

While not as bad as Google+, Facebook have been attempting to enforce the "real name" policy. In 2014-09, it was revealed Facebook had disabled the accounts of a number of drag queens requiring them to use their legal names. [8]

2014-09-17: Accounts which don't seem like they have "normal" names have also been challenged by Facebook's policy. [9]

2015-06-26: Facebook disabled a user's account because of their name, the same name they used to work for and get paid by Facebook as an employee:

Image used in link preview

On 2014-09-29, when I pasted a link to a blog post in a Facebook status, the link preview used one of the comment's avatars instead of the og:image meta element I have had in my HTML for years. I had to manually click through the images until the correct logo appeared. I am not sure if this is a glitch or if Facebook has changed their algorithm.

After using Facebook's Open Graph Object Debugger, I found it reported:

og:image was not defined, could not be downloaded or was not big enough. Please define a chosen image using the og:image metatag, and use an image that's at least 200x200px and is accessible from Facebook.

The image I'm using currently is only ~120px square. I guess that explains it, but it seems silly for Facebook to ignore the explicit og:image element I have set up. — gRegor Morrill

Duplicate Events Created without Confirmation

On 2014-10-20 I ( Kyle Mahan) tried to create a new HWC event using the "Copy Event" UI. I filled in the appropriate fields and clicked "Create". The button greyed out momentarily, and then re-enabled without any confirmation that the event had been copied. I checked my activity feed to see if it was there, and it was not, so I proceeded to click Create two more times before it seemed to go through. Some time later, 3 identical FB events all appeared (maybe an eventual consistency issue?).

Encourages Bad Online Publishing Behaviors

comic2-2912.png Perhaps cliché and thus source for humor but with elements of truth. Unclear if these bad behaviors are due to Facebook's UI/UX (especially Newsfeed / like / share feedback loop), or just that Facebook is surfacing existing behaviors across a very broad spectrum of people. The humor in the cartoon works because these behaviors are fairly known / expected by users of Facebook. Still, specific citations would help with further analysis to see if the indieweb can do better (or is vulnerable to doing worse).

  • Posting about minor annoyances [citation needed]
  • Sponsored posts [citation needed]
  • Sharing of "clickbait" headlines [citation needed]
  • "Here's a friend crossposting from Twitter, so all these @ tags don't work." - perhaps a good reason to NOT secondhand POSSE from Twitter to FB. [citation needed]
  • Posting racist screeds that rely upon made-up quotes and statistics [citation needed]

Facebook use causes decline in satisfaction

2013-04-17 The Economist: Facebook is bad for you: Get a life! Using the social network seems to make people more miserable

… the more someone uses Facebook, the less satisfied he is with life.

[…]

the more a volunteer used Facebook in the period between two questionnaires, the worse he reported feeling the next time he filled in a questionnaire. Volunteers were also asked to rate their satisfaction with life at the start and the end of the study. Those who used Facebook a lot were more likely to report a decline in satisfaction than those who visited the site infrequently.

But an earlier investigation, conducted by social scientists at Humboldt University and Darmstadt’s Technical University, both in Germany, may have found the root cause. These researchers, who presented their findings at a conference in Leipzig in February, surveyed 584 users of Facebook aged mostly in their 20s. They found that the most common emotion aroused by using Facebook is envy. Endlessly comparing themselves with peers who have doctored their photographs, amplified their achievements and plagiarised their bons mots can leave Facebook’s users more than a little green-eyed. Real-life encounters, by contrast, are more WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).
Emphasis added.

Live user frustration test

Facebook deliberately artificially crashed their Android app as a live (unbeknownst to the users) user-test to test frustration / abandonment! https://twitter.com/internetofshit/status/684124629963685888 and https://twitter.com/internetofshit/status/684125090527752194:
CX5_uaQUsAEGKht.png

Reinforcing shallow dopamine responses

Pacifies isolates people with comfort bubbles

  • 2016-05-10 Hossein Derakhshan: Mark Zuckerberg is a hypocrite - Facebook has destroyed the open web[10]

    All the videos, images, and articles we see in our newsfeeds are picked for us based on our habits, based on our previous likes and reshares, which have taught Facebook about our preferences. Naturally, most of us only like what or who we agree with, and Facebook therefore rarely upsets, challenges, or surprises us.

    It is heart-breaking to see how Facebook has changed the internet into little more than a portal for entertainment

    While Zuckerberg laments at walls and admires bridges, the fact is that his Facebook algorithms have created billions of these comfort bubbles that are even more isolating than walls.

    Emphasis added.

Advocates

Robert Scoble defended using Facebook in a post, "What will you miss when you quit Facebook?"

1. Filtered feed. Truth is this is a mixed bag. For me it's a HUGE deal because I have put thousands of hours into tuning my feed and I have many of the world's top technologists on Facebook.

Someday Facebook will change something (or just disappear), and all these hours will be wasted. Imagine if he'd spent just 1/10th of that time working on his own site. — gRegor Morrill

Mottos

Facebook has some development mottos that we can perhaps learn from.

Move Fast And Break Things

From ??? until 2014-04-30, Facebook infamously had the motto:

  • Move Fast and Break Things

Even in their IPO paperwork[11]

Move Fast With Stable Infra

On 2014-04-30[12], in a public announcement, Facebook changed their motto to:

  • Move Fast With Stable Infra

Articles

Articles that may provide insights on how to motivate individuals to move from Facebook to the indieweb (most recent first):

FAQ

Watch video without Flash

Q: How do I watch videos on Facebook without Flash?

A: Accessing the video through https://m.facebook.com/ or https://touch.facebook.com will allow you to watch the video using HTML5 video.

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