Facebook to create internet glossary

Posted on March 15, 2016


Social networking heavyweight Facebook has recently patented software that has the capabilities to scan the site for new and emerging terms, words and names, which would then be stored in an online “social glossary”.

The company’s software was successfully patented in February this year, and is an analytical system that can examine large quantities of messages and posts on the social media site in search of ‘neologisms’. These are, quite simply, new bits of language that are beginning to be used within certain groups but are not yet in common use. Some examples of neologisms include “sick” as a positive adjective, e.g. “that was a sick film!”, and “digital detox” e.g. “I’m online too much, I need a digital detox”.

As an example of what may appear in the social glossary, Facebook mentioned the term ‘Rickrolled’. This term spread quickly online and is now a standardised term in internet slang, used to describe someone sending Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ music video as a prank.

Facebook’s system will be able to spot emerging terms and check that they are not currently in use. Should that term rise in popularity and be confirmed as a new piece of language, it will be added to the social glossary. Additionally, the software can also check that words in the glossary are still current and, should they fall out of favour as most trending slang words do, remove them from the list.

According to the company’s patent, the analysis software will be on the lookout for slang, acronyms, syllabic abbreviations and other coined words and phrases.

Despite the news of the software breaking, it remains unclear what the social company’s intentions are for the glossary and it has yet to make any further announcements regarding its plans for it. Some reports suggest that it could be part of a predictive text system for the site.

With words and phrases having a tendency to trend in phases, a glossary of internet terms could prove to be useful for businesses trying to latch on to certain words that may be popular among a certain target audience, or a new phrase that’s trending on social media that may be worth getting in on. Furthermore, this could come in very handy if you are writing fresh and relevant content for your website, since new and upcoming words and phrases can be a signal that you are keeping your site up-to-date with the latest happenings in the world.

Operations Manager at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Operations Manager.
Alan Littler

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