Facebook seems to like to take two steps back for every step forward. After announcing a plan to revive local news reporting, which is arguably to atone for essentially killing local news, Facebook has now pioneered a way to move forward and backward at the same time. .
Facebook’s latest feature allows users to choose from several pre-created posts to comment on Facebook Live video streams. These messages range from mundane one-word comments to the “prayer” emoji. Clicking on these posts publishes them, which, as a system cynic, just seems to stop people from engaging or thinking about the actual content of the video they are commenting on.
One of the first videos to offer this new feature was a live video from a US local news channel regarding a hospital shooting that left four people dead. Postable comments included “Heartbreaking”. and the “sad but relieved face” emoji.
The feature has also been reported on other videos although, like many other new Facebook features, it is not yet available in the UK. Other types of videos that have the auto-comment feature include gaming streams and online marketing channels, however, suggested replies are different on these streams.
Auto Comments use machine learning to recognize the type of video, and therefore suggest appropriate responses. For example, on a shopping channel, comments suggested compliments such as “pretty” or “cute”, although live news channels often suggested comments that seemed incorrect. Clearly, machine learning is in its infancy.
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While machine learning can be put to good use in Facebook comments for certain things, like responding to unsolicited messages or crafting optimal headlines when posting links, only the use of technology like this- ci to comment on emojis on Facebook Live videos could be seen as a missed opportunity. .
Many were quick to compare the auto-comment feature to Gmail’s smart reply feature, however, on Gmail, you’re probably just acknowledging your attendance at meetings or thanking people for forwarding information to you. Facebook Live videos, on the other hand, often display sensitive content like the aforementioned hospital shooting.
Few people would consider banal phrases or emojis appropriate responses to tragedies like this because they remove the human element that is supposed to define Facebook. And that’s the problem with auto-comments – it lets viewers communicate in mundane phrases and shuts down proper interaction and engagement on the platform.
We reached out to Facebook for comment, and a spokesperson said, “We tested a feature to suggest comments on live videos. Obviously this has not been implemented correctly and we have disabled this feature for the time being.”
Facebook’s implementation of this mechanism just seems like another step in its current midlife crisis. Plagued by an endless stream of hacks, leaks and terrible PR moves, it has rolled out a succession of bizarre products, services and initiatives that provide little or no benefit. While it has taken some impressive steps, including trying to crack down on bad online players, it still has some way to go to regain customer trust. However, perhaps with a little tweaking and work, auto-comments could become a valuable feature.