The eight-strong group, known internally as the AI team, only recently started work, and details of its experiments are still secret. But Facebook’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, will say that one obvious place to use deep learning is to improve the news feed, the personalized list of recent updates he calls Facebook’s “killer app.” The company already uses conventional machine learning techniques to prune the 1,500 updates that average Facebook users could possibly see down to 30 to 60 that are judged to be most likely to be important to them. Schroepfer says Facebook needs to get better at picking the best updates due to the growing volume of data its users generate and changes in how people use the social network.
“The data set is increasing in size, people are getting more friends, and with the advent of mobile, people are online more frequently,” Schroepfer told MIT Technology Review. “It’s not that I look at my news feed once at the end of the day; I constantly pull out my phone while I’m waiting for my friend, or I’m at the coffee shop. We have five minutes to really delight you.” —MIT Technology Review.