Facebook has had a trouble-filled past few years. They have faced a lot of criticism with how they handle privacy and the security of user’s personal information. From their fight against the spread of “fake news” to their mishandling of 87 million Facebook user’s data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the technology powerhouse has fallen out of good graces with much of the public.
However, at the end of November in 2018, Yee Lee, a product manager for Facebook posted a video and blog clearing the air on one area that has concerned many users. It has been long thought that your Facebook search results can be affected by your search results off the platform, meaning whatever you’ve been doing on that browser was being watched and recorded by the social media juggernaut. In the essence of transparency, Facebook product manager, Yee Lee, clarified that your off-platform searches do not, in fact, affect your Facebook search results. For many, this comes as a relief.
What Really Affects Your Facebook Search Results
While some may see this admission of information as a ploy to make up for past mistakes, it still gives clarity to an area of concern for many of the platform’s users. So, if your off the platform, searches don’t affect your Facebook search results, then what does?
In the video Facebook released, Lee states that a number of factors play into determining what you see in your search results. According to Lee, your results are influenced and ranked by the user’s behavior on the platform. What your friends share with you, the posts you like, the pages you follow, the groups you’ve joined, the events you attended, the locations you’ve checked in at, tagged photos, the information you posted on your profile, and all of your previous searches have an influence on your search results. The results vary depending on the content of your search, showing the content that is most relevant and useful at the time of the query. The overall activity of Facebook as a whole also plays a part in what you see, including the popularity of the search topic.
Lee confirmed that any and all content that you interact with and search for off of Facebook’s platform will have no effect on the results of your searches.
The Importance of this Announcement
For the everyday user, this clarification may reduce the level of paranoia and fear that one may have when using Facebook. Hopefully, this revelation educates those and allows them to operate on the social media platform more strategically and safer.
However, for those in the world of digital marketing and advertising, it adds another platform to put more focus into. The outside success of your business has no impact on the search results and traffic you may get from Facebook, and as Lee said, many results from Facebook’s search engine are a result of whatever is popular and recent. If you believe a large market of your target audience and demographic is on Facebook, then boosting your activity on the site is essential. Due to recency and engagement being factors in search results, it is crucial for marketers to be active on the platform and post frequently.
In a bid add a bit of transparency to their public image, Facebook announcing how their search results works was a step in the right direction. It may come as a surprise to many to see how isolated from the rest of the web this makes Facebook seem, but it is also a breath of fresh air for the sake of one’s privacy.