People love making predictions about the latest trends, events or the socio-political discourse and moreover, they love being right about them. More often than not, people are divided on their opinions and are constantly debating with each other about what the best alternative is. Several of the times, they may even have perspectives different from that of leading experts and need a platform to express their ideas.

Facebook, the need for this space launched an experimental app for iOS users in the USA and Canada called Forecast. The platform enables users to share ideas, ask questions, and make predictions, which other users can then discuss and vote on. The idea is to explore potential outcomes and gain more insights based on the collective knowledge of the entire community.

According to Facebook:

“All questions are submitted by the community and then moderated for clarity, using Forecast’s moderation guidelines and Facebook’s Community Standards.”

Basically, the platform hosts debates where people can make calculated guesses on what is up and coming through questions that are approved by the app moderators. The app has a compelling points system which correlates to the credibility of the users. As seen in the images, Forecast allocates points to users who pose interesting questions and to those with the most popular answers. Users can also gain points by justifying their responses through reasoning and deductions. In a way, the credibility score is similar to Reddit’s Karma system.

The system may seem a little flawed since posting more often does not always correspond to being more credible, however, as per Forecast moderation guidelines, users get 100 points for posing a question. The main objective of the platform seems to be sharing knowledge and spurring debates based on research and exploration of ideas to better analyse possible events.

There still persists the risk of manipulation of information which can turn the platform into a propaganda outlet. Here’s where the moderators need to give the right momentum to credible responses. How the platform is received and what direction it heads to remains to be seen. Whether the platform takes off or not, it could definitely provide some new direction to the Facebook team.