How significant is algorithmic personalization in searches for political parties and candidates?
A new social-media policy at the Washington Post prohibits conduct on social media that “adversely affects The Post’s customers, advertisers, subscribers, vendors, suppliers or partners.” In such cases, Post management reserves the right to take disciplinary action “up to and including termination of employment.”The Post‘s Guild sent out a bulletin Sunday night protesting the policy. “If you’re like most of us, you probably acknowledged its receipt without reading it,” says the note, which was written by G
After popularizing sensational headlines and taking your news feed by storm, Upworthy seemingly fell off a cliff. Its story reveals just as much about Facebook as it does about why we click.
Under the aegis of the Personalized Communication Research Priority Area of the University of Amsterdam, the Institute for Information Law, and the Amsterdam School of Communication Research organize a one day symposium on the theory and practice of political micro-targeting. The symposium discusses papers submitted to the upcoming special issue of the Internet Policy Review on the topic.
Date: Friday, 22 September 2017
Published online: 20 Jun 2016
Shoppers with Internet access and a bargain-hunting impulse can find a universe of products at their fingertips. In this thought-provoking exposé, Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stuckeinvite us to take a harder look at today’s app-assisted paradise of digital shopping. While consumers reap many benefits from online purchasing, the sophisticated algorithms and data-crunching that make browsing so convenient are also changing the nature of market competition, and not always for the better.
Computers colluding is one danger. Although long-standing laws prevent companies from fixing prices, data-driven algorithms can now quickly monitor competitors’ prices and adjust their own prices accordingly. So what is seemingly beneficial—increased price transparency—ironically can end up harming consumers. A second danger is behavioral discrimination. Here, companies track and profile consumers to get them to buy goods at the highest price they are willing to pay. The rise of super-platforms and their “frenemy” relationship with independent app developers raises a third danger. By controlling key platforms (such as the operating system of smartphones), data-driven monopolies dictate the flow of personal data and determine who gets to exploit potential buyers.
Virtual Competition raises timely questions. To what extent does the “invisible hand” still hold sway? In markets continually manipulated by bots and algorithms, is competitive pricing an illusion? Can our current laws protect consumers? The changing market reality is already shifting power into the hands of the few. Ezrachi and Stucke explore the resulting risks to competition, our democratic ideals, and our economic and overall well-being.
About four years ago, Svenska Dagbladet, one of Sweden’s top newspapers, was in free fall. The paper was experiencing depressed circulation, no digital revenue, and dwindling readership. When Fredric Káren took the job as editor-in-chief in 2013, the message from the board and the parent company, Scandinavian media conglomerate Schibsted Group, was clear: “Something radical had to be done to secure the newspaper’s future,” he recalls. Since then, SvD has gotten back on track by bringing a digital-first mentality into the newsroom. Káren talks a lot about how investing heavily in technology allowed the paper to move forward and regain profitability. Mostly, though, he says he owes the paper’s recovery to one thing: an algorithm that runs the news.
The recent election, which took place beneath a cloud of fake news, revealed that Americans cloister in like-minded online communities. Since then, it’s become increasingly fashionable to complain about the polarizing power of the Internet. Everyone from Katy Perry to Barack Obama to the Pope has lamented the social-media echo chamber and its corrosive effects on society.
If the Internet is truly tearing the nation apart, though, it’s hard to see that in the data. Plugged-in millennials aren’t the ones who seem to be getting more polarized, according to a new Stanford study. In fact, it’s the opposite: Over the past 20 years, political acrimony spiked among older Americans — the same people who are least likely to use the Internet.