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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

algorithmically enhanced confirmation #bias - 6 uncomfortable facts about how #facebook affects what we see #chsocm

The points below are summarised out of a most excellent post (and some of the comments made on that post) by @nathanjurgenson on the the society pages website (which I found via @cyborgology ) 

For the full detail of the arguments and facts and for further related posts I encourage you to read Nathan's original post (note he discloses in his post that he works for Snapchat but does also make the point that he isn't just  picking on Facebook as other social media companies are similar in their approach to falsely claiming their neutrality in what they provide users)

At the foot of this post are links to some other posts that you may find useful

1) A study by facebook researchers found/estimated that:

- conservatives chose 17% less ideologically opposed (to their own views) news stories and added to that bias the facebook algorithm feeds them another  5% less ideologically opposed news stories

- liberals chose 6% less ideologically opposed news stories and added to that bias the facebook algorithm feeds them another 8% less ideologically opposed news stories

(note  - in how it was reported the study didn't make the above findings clear nor that the methodology and the findings from it are based on the 9% of facebook users who also put their political orientation on their profiles)

2) But Facebook's line is  “it’s not that we control NewsFeed, you control NewsFeed” - which appear contrary to the facts from their own research

3) The newsfeed we see on facebook is in part sorted based on what people are willing to pay.  Apparently the 2nd position in the newsfeed is often allocated to sponsored content  

4)  At recent EuroCPR conference in Brussels it is reported in the comments to Nathan's original post that the Policy Director of Facebook UK, Middle East and Africa mentioned (in front of some 20 people including LSE, University of Amsterdam, The Guardian, …) that Facebook shaped the algorithm in such a way that it shows you (out of 10 items shown) 8 items from your (real) friends and 2 items from other friends: media, companies etc. etc.

5) Our choices about what we look at on facebook is partly a result of how the algorithm teaches us to behave (e.g if certain of our posts are liked we see that and adjust what we post accordingly)

6) The algorithm itself is dynamic and so reacts to and changes with our individual choice. 

other posts on RSA, TED, other lectures, conferences, others blog posts

10 thoughts on some possible insights (& questions) from the UK Election results
11 headlines on why we use facebook & social media - summarised out of a very rich buffer post by Courtney Seiteron  
18 top tips and thoughts about using #social media to enable #community source = an article by  Anatoliy Gruzd PhD & Caroline Haythornthwaite PhD 

Data Protection & Privacy - 8 issues from an International Conference
escape your social horizon limit & understand more - source = a blog post summarising the work of  Jeffrey A. Smith, Miller McPherson & Lynn Smith-Lovin
social media & death - 10 things you may not have thought about - #DORS conference

the development of the U2 spyplane - source = CIA historians Gregory Pedlow & Donald Welzenbach
considering culture and business process improvement  - source = an article by Schmiedel, Theresa, vom Brocke, Jan, & Recker 
ideas that may help you attract older volunteers - source = a paper by Brayley, Nadine, Obst, Patricia L., White, Katherine M., Lewis, Ioni M.,Warburton, Jeni, & Spencer, Nancy
physical factors which help people get better quicker - source = a paper by Salonen, Heidi & Morawska, Lidia 
a new approach to school and education - by Geetha Narayanan 
guiding principles on designing construction kits - by Mitchel Resnick & Brian Silverman
signs of overparenting - source = an article by Locke, Judith, Campbell, Marilyn A., & Kavanagh, David J
making ideas happen - source = a 99U conference

how to spot a liar - by pamela myer 
measuring happiness - source = talk by jim clifton, jim harter, ben leedle

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