Google and Facebook are at it yet again. This time Google alleges that Facebook posts containing a invite link enabling the recipient to sign up for Google+, aren't always getting posted. Google launched this tweetable link on August 7 so that people who are already using Google+ could invite their friends to try out the new system.
When you embed the link in your blog or your Twitter feed or anywhere, the first 150 people who click on it can join Google+. But when you send it out on Facebook, something weird sometimes happens. To you, the sender, it appears that the link has been sent. But, in fact, your friends don't always get that message. Your post does show up in your Facebook profile, however--so you think it has been sent, when really it sometimes hasn't.
Googlers Bradley Horowitz, and Vic Gundotra, posted a video (embedded below) on their Google+ feed that appears to demonstrate this issues, with a note that the company was "getting reports" of the Google+ invite links not showing up on Facebook news feeds anymore (they appear to have stopped on Friday). "I wonder how widespread this problem is?" Gundotra asked.
Horowitz, told the Daily Beast:
"Users are curious, and they're asking us if we know about this," Horowitz told the outlet. "We're interested to find out if this is an anomaly, or if this is a consistent experience for users. It could just be a bug. It's impossible for us to know."
In addition to Horowitz's comment the Daily Beast also reports that an unnamed Google Executive stated:
"Your other messages or links you post get delivered fine … But for some reason this one isn't getting through."
A Facebook spokesman provided a statement that says:
"We have seen the video but have been unable to replicate the experience it shows." The company also once again detailed how its display-filtering technology, which surfaces news to user feeds, has built-in safeguards to keep potential spam out:
"Newsfeed is an automated system that is designed to deliver the most relevant content to you and your friends. The technology evaluates hundreds of factors, including your relationship to the poster, the type of content, the click-through rate (where appropriate), and people hiding similar posts from their feed. In real time, it decides what to display to you and what to filter for both Top News and Most Recent. It also includes systems that attempt to identify and block spam. Links have a history of the most abuse and are given the most scrutiny. As a result of all of these factors, a given link may be shown or filtered to people differently at different times."
To be honest, we tried to re-create the behavior, he link was successfully shared.
This is not the first time that Facebook's filtering algorithms have been criticized. Is Google being paranoid? Or is Facebook really being sneaky? Whatever, with 750 million members, Facebook is in no danger of being overwhelmed by Google+ anytime soon.
What's up next? Google!