How Facebook and Google’s algorithms are affecting our political viewpoints
The Huffington Post - 10/15/2015
Plenty of users take what they read online at face value, which some social experiments have proven. The average user often doesn’t check facts or consider whether the source is credible.
“You look at a Wikipedia article and assume that it all must be true,” said Christo Wilson, a computer science professor at Northeastern University who researched algorithms and personalization extensively. “Or you search for something on Google and think the results are subjective and correct off the bat.”
And then there are algorithms on top of every social network and search engine, providing users with personalized, and ultimately skewed, results. Algorithms are a mystery to researchers. Considered trade secrets, algorithms are best kept confidential. Researchers have a general understanding of how they work, but algorithms are constantly changing so that companies maintain a competitive advantage. Researchers have no way of knowing for sure exactly how Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other online platform’s algorithms work.