Nonprofit Watchdog is Working to Demystify Content Algorithms of Facebook, YouTube

Social media has had a widespread impact on society, but one thing that a lot of people don’t really like about it all that much has to do with the fact that they want to be able to make the most of the various differing viewpoints that people have but most platforms want to just show you what you like in order to maximize clicks and subsequently the level of profit they would be able to obtain from these clicks as well.

The algorithm that is used to make sure that you see the kind of content that you like is also a real problem. The reason behind this is that these companies don’t really comment on what these algorithms do and how they work, they only give vague suggestions that imply that the algorithm basically just shows users what they want to end up seeing.

This is where tech watchdog site The Markup comes in. The editor in chief of this website, Julia Angwin, has ended up revealing a new project from the site that is going to aim to better understand these algorithms as well as tell people how they work so that they can use social media accordingly. This project will be called the Citizen Browser Project.

About 1,200 experts will be assembled into a panel, and the members of this panel will come together to use a special browser that will give them information about what content users are being recommended. User interactions will not be monitored, with the focus instead being on the content itself so that the panel can ascertain how the decision regarding what content would be optimal was made. This would be helpful not just for user privacy but also for content creators who are often frustrated because of the fact that they have difficulty understanding how to make the most of this algorithm.


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