When Algorithms Think You Want to Die

WIRED klaagt de recommendation engines van de sociale netwerken aan:

Social media users receive recommendations—or, as Pinterest affectionately calls them, “things you might love”—intended to give them a personalized, supposedly more enjoyable experience. Search for home inspiration and soon the platform will populate your feed with pictures of paint samples and recommend amateur interior designers for you to follow. This also means that, the more a user seeks out accounts promoting eating disorders or posting images of self-harm, the more the platform learns about their interests and sends them further down that rabbit hole too.

Het klopt. Je zoekt een keer op ‘kombucha’ en je krijgt half kombuchamakend YouTube in uw inbox. Dan wil ik niet weten hoe het zit met extremere gedachten…

But real change here is going to be hard: Recommendation has become the primary means for social media to keep users on the site and clicking. It’s not likely to go away. And these algorithms are optimized to serve the individual wants of individual users; it is much more difficult to optimize them for the collective benefit.

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