Facebook Switches from Reviews and Ratings to Recommendations

Facebook Recommendations have replaced ratings and reviews

Facebook reviews are looking very different these days. The social media giant has moved away from a five-star rating system in favor of a simpler recommendation system. Users now answer “yes” or “no” to the question “Do you recommend (this place)?” On the latest reviews, you will see a status of recommendation instead of the rating for the latest reviews.

Why Did Facebook Switch to Recommendations?

Facebook is not the first company to make this move. Last year, Netflix replaced its star rating system with a thumbs up, thumbs down system. They had noticed that the star ratings seemed inconsistent with the user’s actual viewing habits; viewers would give movies or shows a star rating based on its perceived overall quality instead of what they actually watched.

Facebook’s transition to recommendations in place of the star rating signals that they have taken note of Netflix’ move. Facebook has always aimed to create highly personalized experiences for their users, and the binary Yes/No Recommendation system may do a better job of training their algorithm to suggest what users will like.

200% Higher Engagement

Facebook can also count on seeing more engagement from their users. Netflix saw a 200% increase in user engagement after their switch to thumbs up, thumbs down. One of the main reasons for this increase is that the binary rating is easier to do. Whether or not you had a somewhat mixed experience with a business, all you have to do is react with your gut to say if you’d recommend it or not, instead of having to think of a rating out of five.

More Accurate Rating

This simpler system also leads to a wider spectrum of users leaving reviews. Five-star rating systems tend to only see engagement from people who had an outstanding experience or a horrible experience, without much engagement from those in the middle. In other words, you get a disproportionate number of 1 and 5 star ratings.  By simplifying to Yes/No Recommendations, Facebook is aiming to give its users a more accurate view of a business.

Will Other Review Sites Move Away from 5 Star Ratings?

It’s unclear if this is how the review industry will trend.  The combo of five-star rating system and detailed reviews is generally regarded as the best way to help consumers make complex decisions.  And perhaps the Yes/No Recommendation system is only a fit for Facebook and Google because they have high user engagement and can make smart suggestions based on user behavior, which is not something most other sites can do.  But Facebook and Netflix, which test more aggressively than many of the most innovative companies in the world, may have found an insight that gets them farther ahead of the competition.