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Facebook Now Using Natural Language Processing 66

Posted by timothy
from the skynet-enters-rem-sleep dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook has added a new type of story to its News Feed today: if more than one of your friends post about the same topic, and it has a Page on the social network, the posts will be grouped under a Posted About story, even if your friends don't explicitly tag the Page. It turns out Facebook is using natural language processing on status updates as well as the headlines of posted links to figure out if a topic mentioned has a corresponding Page, and then searches to see if your other friends have done so as well."
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Facebook Now Using Natural Language Processing

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  • Back to Usenet? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zmughal (1343549) on Monday August 08, 2011 @07:03PM (#37028452) Homepage
    So, now that we can correlate what people are talking about to topics, can we get proper threading? The code doesn't work in some overloaded cases such as categorizing the phrase "Big Apple" under "Apple, Inc.".
    • by blackair (1967466)
      exactly, they need to allow people to explicitly tag the item if they want it to a useful design feature
  • I saw a bunch of posts mentioning Google being grouped together, which seemed silly.

    • by sg_oneill (159032)

      I've yet to see it work well. It grouped a tonne of posts together that had wikipedia links for no reason other than wikipedia, and in another it gouped a bunch of posts together about australian electronic musician Tomas Ford together, then decided it was about Ford Motorcars (which apparently has deeply annoyed the somewhat anticorporate musician right off)

  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Monday August 08, 2011 @07:14PM (#37028516) Journal

    Now if Facebook could only get posters to actually post in some sort of readable "natural language."

    • That's going to be offered when FB merges with Microsoft later this year. Among the benefits for users will be automatic red squiggly lines under 68.4% of their words, and a compulsory AI comic book character (licensed from Marvel) to offer timely wording suggestions, like "it's clobberin' time" and "my spider-sense is tingling!".
      • That'd be AWESOME!

        Just imagine it: when 30+% of your words are misspelled you hear "You're making me angry..", then at 50+% you hear very loudly "HULK SMASH!!11", and Hulk goes on a rige-induced violent rampage, destroying first your UI elements, then actual installed applications and games, then all of your files.. you'd better be a really fast learner and start fixing those misspellings or your PC wouldn't be useable for long!

  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Monday August 08, 2011 @07:26PM (#37028588) Journal
    can Zuckerberg pull his hands out of his ass for a few minutes and allow image replies to posts? every bbcode html and *chan board has been able to do so since forever
    • by Trogre (513942) on Monday August 08, 2011 @08:16PM (#37028826) Homepage

      Wait, you want Facebook to become *more* like 4chan?

      *shakes head*

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        Wait, you want Facebook to become *more* like 4chan?

        You mean become less creepy?

        I'm not sure Facebook would survive the loss of users that would occur if the level of discourse there was raised to that of 4chan.

        • by Rizimar (1986164)

          Wait, you want Facebook to become *more* like 4chan?

          You mean become less creepy?

          Yeah, because Facebook is missing that non-creepy atmosphere that 4chan has. You know, that site that popularized such things as Pedobear and shitting dick nipples.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            You know, that site that popularized such things as Pedobear and shitting dick nipples.

            I'm sorry, but Facebook is still creepier. You expect goofy kids and outcasts to do goofy things.

            Nobody expects Facebook's level of creepiness. Until it's too late.

            • Nobody expects Facebook's level of creepiness. Until it's too late.

              I noticed the creepiness as well. Can't put my finger on it. You?

              • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                I think it has something to do with other people.

                I'm looking into a system similar to Facebook, but which works offline. I think that's the solution. No need for the network layer at all.

                I think it's called a "diary".

      • You have to admit, it would be a lot more interesting. Soccer moms meet /b/ - the possibilities are endless.
    • I think it's already implemented. If I post a link to an image as a reply, facebook shows me a nice thumbnail.
  • Bonus points to whoever registers under the name Fruit Flies and goes on to like A Banana.

  • Not NLP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Psycizo (776693) on Monday August 08, 2011 @07:56PM (#37028716)

    Facebook told Inside Facebook that its natural language processing doesn’t detect sentiment, how a Page’s name is being used, or whether the mentioned Page was actually the focus of the update. Page owners may not like Facebook linking to their Page if a post isn’t actually what a user was discussing or if it is being talked about negatively.

    That makes it a keyword search. Natural Language Processing implies that it intelligently parses the text to locate the topic, this is Dumb Processing.

    • by 19061969 (939279)
      Except when dealing with synonyms. A page which uses only the word 'cars' to refer to cars will not be matched to a page that only uses the word 'automobiles' to refer to cars with keyword search. I'm not saying FB does this but synonymy is a well known problem (with solutions) in information retrieval.
    • Good Lord, it's awful.

      A couple examples of completely inappropriate non-sequitur groupings:
      Lost, but only sort of the TV show [googleusercontent.com]
      Obama [googleusercontent.com], only [googleusercontent.com] not [googleusercontent.com].

      These were gleaned from my own FB page over the last two days.

      I really hate this 'feature'.
  • Anyone know why Facebook removed the default https security setting? Logging on is now insecure by default. You have to dig into your configuration options to reactivate it. Whats up with that?
  • LaTeX (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lahvak (69490) on Monday August 08, 2011 @08:20PM (#37028852) Homepage Journal

    If I and several of my friends have a discussion about LaTeX, I wonder which page will it get associated with. Or vice versa.

    May result in some amusing situations.

    • by mosseh (1014255)
      Yeah, try searching for LaTeX (books) on Amazon. That must have caused some serious aggravation for non-techies.
      • I think Amazon needs to tweak THEIR processing a little bit...

        From my search for "Latex":
        | "Sweet Dreams, Honey Bear: A Hand-Puppet Book"

        Umm... yeah.

  • When did facebook receive exclusive rights to that name? Just because a movie was made about it under that name does not mean there is no other social network on the planet...
    • It's called a pronoun, moron.

      • by blueg3 (192743)

        Well, it's not a pro-form, so it's not a pronoun. But it is an anaphora, which is probably what you meant. :-)

        In any case, it's clearly referential and the antecedent is unambiguous, unless you're trolling. :p

    • When did facebook receive exclusive rights to that name? Just because a movie was made about it under that name does not mean there is no other social network on the planet...

      You were referring to "the social network" but I can't quote the title of your message (well, not lazily, anyway).

      Nobody said it was "THE" social network. The fragment "the social network" obviously refers back to the start of the sentence where Facebook is referenced as the subject. So, the fragment is saying that Facebook is a social network; which it is. Your whole post disregards context and makes an assumption based on disregarding that context. Are you a journalist?

    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      And I'm wondering why "Page" is capitalised throughout. Has Facebook trademarked the word "Page"? Is a Facebook "Page" different to any other web page?
  • by PJ6 (1151747) on Monday August 08, 2011 @08:31PM (#37028902)
    There are a lot of existing examples [bspcn.com]

    Story: One toddler dead, another critical after house fire.
    Ad: Burn, baby, burn!

    The inevitability of inappropriateness... can ya feel it?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Most Facebook users I know don't use anything resembling natural language.

  • Reason to not use Facebook. Where is the assumption that I want to be grouped in with some off the cuff remark made by friend 1871. Who is that guy and why is he on my Facebook anyway? I should do some defriending soon.

  • How am I the only person upset about the issue at hand here? I don't want my posts being associated with any person, topic, or page, unless I INTEND for that to happen.

    Example: There are a lot of drug groups on Facebook and if I use my account to criticize drugs, what if the NLP accidently groups myself and my friends and tags our posts as "About Citizens for Legal Marijuana" or some such? The point isn't whether the AI makes mistakes, the point is, how does it know my posts ought to be About anything at

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