Artist Engineers a Numberless Facebook

Most people have a keen appreciation for the metrics-driven nature of social media platforms like Facebook. Folks like Benjamin Grosser, an MFA candidate studying New Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are no different, they just prefer putting a different spin on the whole matter.


Grosser, who studied music and composition before turning to New Media, created software that polishes away the starkness of Facebook profile numbers. His interest in the behavioral changes that Facebook’s numbers provoke in users has given way to the Facebook Demetricator. If you download his software, instead of seeing the precise number of people that liked a picture a Facebook buddy of yours uploaded, you’ll see a more ambiguous statement like “You and other people like this.”

The New Media artist gave an interview to Mathew Fuller and explained a bit more about his project saying: “I suspect that Facebook enumerates everything. If it resides within their databases then the counts are easily obtained. However, not all of these counts are shown to the user. So the question then becomes which metrics does Facebook reveal to its users and which does it keep to itself? What is the difference between them? Further, what drives those decisions?”

Got to to download the Facebook Demetricator. It’s free.

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