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Facebook staffers warned of dangers of ‘angry emoji’ in spread of fake news

Docments show tech giant ‘was aware’ that system boosting engagement favoured controversial posts

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Facebook papers show social media giant struggling to keep control

Facebook papers show social media giant struggling to keep control

Senior campaigner Flora Rebello Arduini with a 4-metre-high installation, depicting Mark Zuckerberg surfing on a wave of cash and surrounded by teenagers, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, before Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to MPs as part of government plans for social media regulation.

Senior campaigner Flora Rebello Arduini with a 4-metre-high installation, depicting Mark Zuckerberg surfing on a wave of cash and surrounded by teenagers, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, before Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to MPs as part of government plans for social media regulation.

Facebook Chairman and CEO Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington

Facebook Chairman and CEO Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington

A 4-metre-high installation, depicting Mark Zuckerberg surfing on a wave of cash and surrounded by teenagers, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, before Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to MPs as part of government plans for social media regulation

A 4-metre-high installation, depicting Mark Zuckerberg surfing on a wave of cash and surrounded by teenagers, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, before Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to MPs as part of government plans for social media regulation

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Facebook papers show social media giant struggling to keep control

Five years ago, Facebook gave its users five new ways to react to a post in their news feed beyond the iconic “like” thumbs-up: “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry.”

Behind the scenes, Facebook programmed the algorithm that decides what people see in their news feeds to use the reaction emoji as signals to push more emotional and provocative content – including content likely to make them angry. Starting in 2017, Facebook’s ranking algorithm treated emoji reactions as five times more valuable than “likes,” internal documents reveal. The theory was simple: Posts that prompted lots of reaction emoji tended to keep users more engaged, and keeping users engaged was the key to Facebook’s business.


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