Facebook is among the largest platforms for sharing memes, with some of its biggest pages’ dedicated to spreading them. So, in 2015, the company filed a patent for a ‘Meme Detection in Digital Chatter Analysis.”
In summary, the algorithm uses the terms in the meme to identify what its topic is. Thereafter, key terms of the meme are associated with certain age ranges, interests, nationality, etc., and paired with an audience that fits the criterion. Finally, the engine will assess the interactivity between users and the meme to determine which are “quality memes.”
“Some embodiments include a method of detecting memes, as “key terms,” in a chatter aggregation in a social networking system. The method can include aggregating user-generated content objects within the social networking system into the chatter aggregation according to a set of filters. A meme analysis engine can define a target group within the chatter aggregation to compare against a background group. The meme analysis engine can extract key terms from textual content of the target group. The meme analysis engine can determine a relevancy rank of a term in the key terms based on an accounting of the term in the textual content of the target group and a linguistic relevance score of the term according to a linguistic model.”
Overall, there are people for and against this proposed algorithm. Some argue that it is better to promote memes that have high engagement, while others see this procedure as a way to subtly censor or restrict the internet. In recent years, memes have been increasingly political in content, making some fear Facebook is attempting to dictate political opinions on their site, for controversial memes may have negative engagement or internet behavior associated with them.