Change Of Mind Could Pose Relevancy Problems For Facebook Graph Search

Chris CrumSearchNews

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Add this to the list of speculation surrounding Facebook's Graph Search: it might start an "un-liking rebellion". Some analysts are suggesting that as people start using Facebook Graph Search, users are going to start being associated with things they may not wish to be associated with, simply because they "liked" said things on Facebook once.

I don't know that we're going to see a "mass unliking revolution," as Business Insider's Laura Stampler puts it, but there is a valid point within this discusion.

"The problem is, while you might have loved 'One Tree Hill' in high school, it probably isn't the best representation of your current television taste," writes Stampler, who points to a similar point made by eMarketer analyst Dbera Aho Willimason in an Ad Age article. "And while you might not remember 'Liking' something three years ago, your friends will be able to find out with the click of a button."

While I'm not so sure this is going to be a huge "revolution" on the part of Facebook users, the point does highlight potential relevancy issues with Facebook's new search offering.

It's very true that things you liked years ago may not be things you still like. Tastes change, and people grow up and older. You may have liked a restaurant two years ago, and since had a bad experience that made you never want to go back. What are the odds that you remembered that you liked it on Facebook to begin with, and then take that extra step to go unlike it? The fact that Facebook isn't regularly showing you (in your news feed) all of the updates from all of the Pages that you like only complicates the situation further. There's a high probability that you will forget some of your likes, but that won't stop Facebook from showing your friends that you like these things.

Of course, people who are really going to make decisions based on your likes can go the extra step and simply ask you about your experience with the place, person or thing in question, but what are the odds of that?

This issue could only become more of a problem for Facebook's search relevancy as time goes on, as the site gets older, and as people have been "liking" things for longer.

How does Graph Search account for changes of mind? It would seem that the responsibility for relevancy lies upon users. This could warrant an "unliking revolution" (if you want to sensationalize it), but how any users are really going be thinking about this. And how many of those users are really going to take the time to do anything about it? How many care about the search relevancy of their friends' Graph Search experience?

Side note: It's interesting that Facebook doesn't show users when their friends unlike something.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.