What SEO Professionals Can Learn From Facebook’s AI Issues

Facebook’s enforcement of its own community standards leaves a lot to be desired. The problem is that the social network relies too heavily on artificial intelligence, and not enough on human intelligence. There’s a lesson in there for search engine marketing.

Facebook recently rolled out a new(ish) feature to users on its social network: suggested comments. The idea is that in order to save time and energy, Facebook can offer you a set of predetermined, bottled responses to the posts you interact with and the content you see. The problem is that the feature…doesn’t exactly work.

Most of the time, the suggested comments are either irrelevant platitudes, bizarre animated emojis, or “spaghetti.”

Yes. Just that single word. Nothing else. 

The absurdity of Facebook’s suggested comments underscores something that’s long been a weakness of the social networking titan. By all appearances, it relies far too heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning, without putting enough stock in the human side of things. Nowhere is this more apparent than in its enforcement of community standards.

In spite of repeatedly announcing its intent to ban hate speech and crackdown on white supremacy, Facebook has done relatively little in this arena, reports The Guardian. Certainly, it has, as The Wall Street Journal notes, banned several of the most prominent sources of bigotry and vitriol. But elsewhere, white supremacists and other bigots operate freely and openly.

The problem appears to be with the AI that manages Facebook’s community standards. It frequently makes bizarre, often nonsensical decisions when determining what content is acceptable and unacceptable. Moreover, it’s incapable of recognizing context, often painting hate speech and the frustrations expressed by marginalized individuals with the same brush.

But what does any of this have to do with search engine optimization? 

Simply put, while AI-driven SEO tools can be an excellent tool for keyword and topic research and on-site SEO, it cannot replace human expertise. An AI platform can quickly discover keyword opportunities, carry out competitor analysis, provide you with information on searcher intent, and improve the content you create. I can even drive hyper-personalization, as noted by the marketing publication Search Engine Journal

But it cannot do any of this without human input and human insight. An AI platform is only as good as the effort you put into it. It is only as effective as the information it is fed.

Perhaps a day will come when AI eclipses human intelligence. Perhaps a day will come when SEO is handled entirely through machine learning, leaving content creators free to do what they do best. But that day is still in the far-flung future.

For now, AI should be treated not as a panacea for all your problems and challenges, but rather a tool that you can use to make your life simpler. 

Author: Terry Cane

Terry Cane is a technical writer for SEOHost.net, a reliable and supportive SEO hosting partner.