Archive for May 2016

The Circularity of Algorithms

Facebook, is a lot like many of today’s largest technology companies, insofar as, it is fond of using “algorithms” as a way to quickly explain the products that shape the very core of our lives. There are algorithms for just about what ever data point you are trying to produce or reach. For instance there is an algorithm that determines the news you see on good and Facebook, sorting your news feeds on Twitter and Instagram, tagging your photos on Flickr, matching employers with job candidates on LinkedIn and determining the ads that trail you around the internet.

eeeAt the start of this week, you probably have never heard of the man bringing this to the fore in a new way that Tom Stocky is. If you have, it was probably because you were into the industry news about search engines.

On Monday night, it was announced that Stocky was briefly forced into the spotlight in order to ease a potential outcry over whether he and the even less prominent members of his team have ever made it.

“My team is responsible for Trending Topics, and I want to address today’s report alleging that Facebook contractors manipulate Trending Topics to suppress stories of interest to conservatives” Stocky suggests.

Although this is what he suggested, it leaves many wondering if it is really the case. and even if they are not directly manipulating what trends, it still seems susceptible to manipulation in many ways. Consider, what happens when you see something trending, they usually follow very similar routes to your computer, and the same kind of stories always get pegged as trending worth. That said, it would follow that there are rules one could follow in order to trend, and that they can be controlled in some sense. The landscape of Facebook is changing everyday. 

We are constantly increasing seeing ourselves in a world that is dictated by algorithms, buy we know very little about them and the safe guards in place to protect against them and their worst qualities against them. The thing is that most people don’t want to be exposed to any algorithm that determines the news or content they see. The reason being, is that once you are in a bubble it only snowballs to where you are getting this diluted sense of reality and are forced to see only what the algorithm determines is worth seeing. 32

Consider what we think about when we consider the internet. We often see it as this all open all inclusive window into the world and how it really operates and looks. The reality is that what you see is what you have already seen in some sense. Thus when you search for something you are not so much do research on it as you are having your idea reinforced. Essentially what was created to be the means for the most objective thing in the history of mankind, is quickly becoming a self illusion tool that keeps you looking at your own paradigm and not steeping outside of it to see what others actually say.