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Facebook Advertising: Irony Is The Algorithm’s Achilles Heel

A front-page story on the New York Times Friday dredged up a three-month-old story about a 32-year-old multimedia producer in Iowa City namedNick Bergus who had an amusing misfire with the newly launched “sponsored stories” on Facebook. To me, it is a tale of how irony can create serious friction for monetization.

Excerpt from Digital Reasoning CTO: Matthew Russell, author of Mining the Social Web, says, “As to sarcasm, like any other type of natural language processing (NLP) analysis, context matters. Analyzing natural language data is, in my opinion, the problem of the next 2-3 decades. It’s an incredibly difficult issue, and sarcasm and other types of ironic language are inherently problematic for machines to detect when looked at in isolation. It’s imperative to have a sufficiently sophisticated and rigorous enough approach that relevant context can be taken into account.”

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