According to this report by the Washington Post, Facebook scores users on false reporting of fake news on a scale of 0 to 1.
- 0 to 1 is a major hint that this is simple probability calculations
- Based principally on how often you report something as fake when it’s true
- For those who don’t remember, Facebook is essentially trying to reduce Type I statistical errors in their machine learning training data
- Type I is saying something’s true when it’s false – the boy who cried wolf
The reality is that your credit score has far greater impact on your life than a Facebook score of any kind. If you want to fight a scoring system, fight that one.
Can’t see anything? Watch it on YouTube here.
Listen to the audio here:
- Got a question for You Ask, I’ll Answer? Submit it here!
- Subscribe to my weekly newsletter for more useful marketing tips.
- Find older episodes of You Ask, I Answer on my YouTube channel.
- Need help with your company’s data and analytics? Let me know!
What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, let’s talk about trustworthiness score. So Facebook made the news again this week for The Washington Post reporting that it was building or had built trustworthiness scores of its users in the article, which is linked in the show notes. Facebook scores users on false reporting of fake news on a scale of zero to one. What do we know about this? What’s interesting about this? Well, the first clue is that the scale of zero to one is a major hint that this is all around probability calculation, it is likely to be tied to either just flat out error rate, or P values, which is a statistical expression of the likelihood of error. The way was explaining the article, Facebook said that they are using these scores in order to determine how trustworthy a user is within the context of reporting fake news. And apparently, what happens. And this is no surprise
for things that are politics, people were reporting things as fake that were actually true articles.
And when you report something is fake, a certain percentage of articles goes to humans to essentially check out make sure these this actually a fake article, a roomful of people somewhere, checking Snopes,
which in turn means that the more false reports there are a fake news, the more they have to increase staffing, things like that, and the more expensive it gets. So Facebook has instead created an algorithm that judges how trustworthy your reports are of fake news. Now, for those who don’t remember, this is a statistical thing. Facebook is essentially trying to reduce type one errors, right? So
if you never took us to six course, there are two major types of errors in hypothesis testing. type one error is saying something is true. What is false type two error saying something is false when it’s true. So the one of the best ways to explain this is the boy who cried wolf, the story the kid who cries Wolf and the villagers run and check out and of course, there’s, that’s the type one error The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a type one error. Now, what happens in the story later on is the type one error becomes a type two error, the boy cries, Wolf, nobody believes him, they believe it’s false, but there actually is a wolf and everybody dies. And so these are the two types of errors you can make and statistical testing. So Facebook isn’t concerned, less is less concerned about people saying something is true, but really false, because that is implicit in our behavior. If we if nobody flags a story as false, then by default, it must be true. So what they’re trying to reduce is number of people who say this story is fake news. But reality it’s a it is accurate,
but it may go against your political inclinations. You may have a bias you read a story about a democrat and your republican you know, like that’s, that’s just fake. That’s fake news, or vice versa
Democrat, you’re reading a story about a Republican, you know, as clearly faking anything this person says is fake. well
as people who care about data and the integrity of data,
you and I can’t make that mistake, we can’t do that we have to, we do have to apply judgment and
except even if we don’t like Opposing Viewpoints,
particularly when it gets to politics. So what’s got people concerned about this is their their, their thinking Black Mirror style scenarios where there’s a score that rates you and every aspect of your life
there already is, we have these scores, we’ve had these scores for decades. If you’ve ever bought anything on credit, guess what, you have a credit score, a credit score is your trustworthiness score in the realm of Finance. So we’re as a society, okay, with one of three companies telling us essentially, whether someone should do business with us, there are the same style of scores for businesses there, you can absolutely bet there are a million and a half different scores. When it comes to things like apps like Tinder,
whether or not you know about them is the question, but those scores exist. For anybody who works in marketing, we are scoring people all the time, when you go into your CRM, or you’re going to your marketing automation software, you have the opportunity to decide what things should earn someone more points in the marketing automation software to qualify them further as a lead. So these scores exist everywhere. Now, what’s different about this is that
we don’t have a good understanding of what goes in the score. Frankly, we don’t have a good understanding what goes into most of these scores.
And that’s really the heart of it. And it’s a kind of a uncomfortable paradox. Because
for people who are malicious, if you know the algorithm, you can game the algorithm, you can figure out how to beat the algorithm. So a company who wants the algorithm to work correctly
disguise or hide the internal workings vice versa. We are also pushing as a society for more transparency, especially tech companies whose devices literally are ruling our lives
because we let them
Facebook Facebook is just could have done a better job of
I feel as it could have done a better job of explaining, look, we are specifically targeting people who report things as fake when it’s true, stop doing that, and you will have a perfect trustworthy score. And if you want to view your trustworthy score, cool, you know, here’s the number of articles that you rated as fake, which are, in fact true. And maybe that would even be benefit saying, yep, this one here that you regarded as fake actually is true,
that might do some good in helping break people’s biases. It won’t do much good. But it could do a little bit of good. If someone’s curious about the trustworthiness score to say yes, that you reported this is fake, it’s true, you have a bias of your own. If you fix that bias, your trustworthiness score will go up so there’s a potential for positive impact from this but in general,
what’s going on here is no more malicious or
or scary then the dozens of other scores that are ruling our lives all day every day here in chump your insurance company has a score about your credit card company has a score about you, your mortgage has a score about you, you’re dating apps have scores about you, if you do business with another business is a score about you and the marketing automation software. And if you are setting up marketing automation software, and you’re assigning points to leads, you might want to think about that algorithm. Think about what is how do you how do you decide what
what constitutes a good leader badly because you were scoring people, you are applying a scoring algorithm to people so give some thought to is this something that makes a lot of senses are the defaults to come out of the system? good ones, I would guarantee
at least half of the people who use marketing automation software except the defaults for scoring. Maybe you shouldn’t, you should go to those and figure out actually this does not conform to how we think about generating business. So just some thoughts and feelings for you on this Friday. Don’t worry too much about the scores because in the grand scheme of things, your credit score controls far more of your life than your Facebook trustworthiness score. As always, please subscribe to the YouTube channel in the newsletter and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care
if you want help with your company’s data and analytics. Visit Trust Insights calm today and let us know how we can help you
Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:
Get your copy of AI For Marketers (2019 Edition)
Also published on Medium.