Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Facebook's Sponsored Stories & the dangers of sentiment analysis

Facebook has announced that it is introducing Sponsored Stories - essentially things relating to brands that you have written, amplified by the brands, and placed in the right hand side ad box by Facebook.

Initial trial advertisers are Coke, Levi's, Anheuser Busch and Playfish, plus nonprofits like Donors Choose, Girl Up!, Malaria No More, Amnesty International, Women for Women, Autism Speaks, (RED), Alzheimer's Association and UNICEF.

I can see this being very controversial, and I also think that there will be teething troubles early on.  [Edit - it specifically refers to things like checkins for deals, rather than general status messages]  If the brand pays to put a status relating to them in the ad box, how sure are they that it's a positive statement?  I do quite a lot of work with buzz tracking companies, and none of them has yet managed to show me that they can identify positive and negative sentiment correctly.  E.g.  "Sitting on a plane for an hour with no air conditioning.  I love Ryanair!" is always interpreted as positive.

I suspect that there are going to be lots of LOLs early on as brands inadvertently promote negative sentiments!

More info here.

1 comment:

Eddie said...

I never thought about the computer misinterpretations... This could spell disaster for a paying client... Ouch!

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