Facebook is reportedly using machine learning to reduce the number of notifications users get.
With the idea of ‘digital wellbeing’ growing more popular, a number of companies are taking steps to help users spend less time on their devices. Both Google and Apple are incorporating screen time management tools into their mobile operating systems.
Facebook is getting on board as well with its Time Well Spent initiative. Part of that means cutting down on notification spam.
The big blue social network is supposedly starting with one of it’s most annoying notifications: “You are now connected on Messenger.”
In an official statement a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company is in the process of scaling back those notifications.
“We’ve found that many people have appreciated getting a notification when a friend joins Messenger,” the spokesperson said.
“That said, we are working to make these notifications even more useful by employing machine learning to send fewer of them over time to people who enjoy getting them less.”
In other words, if someone doesn’t open those spam alerts, it won’t send as many.
This is definitely a small step in the right direction for the company. However, this is little more than a step.
Facebook has all kinds of notifications like this — borderline spam that tries to push engagement. Things like “so and so added to their story,” or “these people responded to events near you tomorrow.”
There is a time and place for that information. However, blasting the information through my phone in a vain hope to grab my attention isn’t the way to go about it. Facebook shouldn’t continuously subject users to these notifications if they don’t engage with them.
Hopefully Facebook treats more notifications to the machine learning process as it continues to focus on digital wellbeing.