Facebook is testing the water with a new information-based feature that will prevent its users from exiting the platform in search of valid insights elsewhere.
Usually, Facebook users tend to look up at Google, and other search engines for knowledge on people, places, & things. With the in-platform knowledge imparting search panel, Facebook aims to maintain its traffic within itself.
The company has announced testing the upgraded version of search results on its platform that extracts information from resources available for public purpose online. These results are presented in a side panel of the search page similar to the information automatically generated on Google’s knowledge panel.
It provides biographical data, a summary of important information about the search, links to other official profiles on social media such as Instagram along with the display of connected topics. While most of the information gathered is extracted from Wikipedia, it serves more purpose for Facebook than any other site.
How does Facebook Search function?
The knowledge panel listing on Facebook search not just provides contextual insights on the particular topic but also builds around engaging users on the platform thereby retaining them for more time.
Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that the pilot program is running in English on iOs, desktop & mobile web and can either be a hit or a miss due to many underlying issues.
The Wikipedia backed feature displays information that can be useful and misleading both at the same time. For example, when we type COVID or COVID-19 or any other term clearly related to the current pandemic, it may take us to the COVID-19 information centre page on Facebook instead of providing any fact or news on the disease. The same search on Google can give a detailed report on what is going on with the virus at different parts of the world, display maps, news reports etc. on the same.
While Google’s knowledge panel gives a complete experience to the user with its intuitive search results for users based on their digital movement, Facebook search mostly directs users towards its in-built features within the platform. Here when any subject is searched for it shows the results along with the Instagram link only whereas on Google, people can find the official handles from several sites & profile. Basically it is Facebook that is trying to keep its users within the same ecosystem.
The Facebook search might not show all the information related to the topic on any person, place and thing, for example, if you type “Joker” it’s Wikipedia backed data will display results on the movie whereas the term “parasite” yields almost no information about the Oscar star. It is because the Facebook algorithm is arranged systematically that may not recognise a keyword or specific term as a typical subject.
The Reason behind the Feature testing
Initially, a few years down the lane, Facebook launched a graph search feature that was an attempt to improvise their internal search engine. It was meant to yield data related to people, place, interests and pictures backed by its own database.
It received lots of flak from users due to security discrepancies and issues with the investigation of cybercrimes. The criticism also revolved around Facebook’s fact-checking policies and keeping the right information around.
Somewhere, Facebook as a platform is infamous for the spread of misinformation and abuse of basic rights in a way but with this feature, they are targeting to resolve the long going matter.
By representing resources that enable users to do their fact check while searching for any particular information paves the path for the social media giant to mend its little cracks.
Facebook’s need for a software application or a tool to check the facts behind content led to this release of Wikipedia snippets in its search result. It will certainly keep the actively circulated wrong information, conspiracy theories, rising propagandas under the control.
With the hope to help users on the platform in more ethical ways, Facebook keeps asking the question “Is this information accurate?” with options “yes” or “no” to ensure that the users themselves have a chance to verify the authenticity on the site.
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