Category Archives: scientific articles

Echo Chamber? What Echo Chamber?

The results of such politically heterogeneous connections are similarly remarkable: yes, some 39% of social media users say they’ve changed their settings to filter out political posts or block certain users in their network; this could be seen as an attempt to build the echo chamber, of course, but in itself is also a clear sign that those filtering mechanisms are as yet far from effective. But conversely, some 20% of users also state that they’ve changed their minds about a political or social issue becau

Source: Echo Chamber? What Echo Chamber?

The Structural Irrelevance of Privacy: A Provocation: The Library Quarterly: Vol 86, No 4

A recent library institute on privacy noted that “privacy … is crucial to free speech, freedom of thought, and equal access to information,” now challenged by the “mass collection of … data,” and that “our profession has been slow to respond [to this] threat.” The failure is broader: a theoretical approach to privacy unmoored from contemporary reality. It is the context of what has been known for some time that reveals the shortcomings of privacy theories. This article will review where our current theories come from: the broader field of information ethics and its intellectual framing of privacy issues. The article will review theoretical and historical insights that should inform our ideas about what privacy is and when it is effectively absent or invaded. These insights provide a much more informative context for democratic values, concluding with recommendations to blend the two traditions and move privacy forward.

Source: The Structural Irrelevance of Privacy: A Provocation: The Library Quarterly: Vol 86, No 4

Algorithmic selection on the Internet – Media Change & Innovation – IPMZ – University of Zurich

Publications

  • Just, Natascha / Latzer, Michael (2016): Governance by Algorithms: Reality Construction by Algorithmic Selection on the Internet. In: Media, Culture & Society [accepted manuscript, forthcoming online before print]. [pdf]
  • Dörr, Konstantin / Hollnbuchner, Katharina (2016): Ethical Challenges of Algorithmic Journalism. In: Digital Journalism [accepted manuscript; forthcoming online before print]. [pdf]
  • Latzer, Michael / Hollnbuchner, Katharina / Just, Natascha / Saurwein, Florian (2016): The economics of algorithmic selection on the Internet. In: Bauer, J. and Latzer, M. (Eds), Handbook on the Economics of the Internet. Cheltenham, Northampton: Edward Elgar, 395-425. [pdf]
  • Saurwein, Florian / Just, Natascha / Latzer, Michael (2015): Governance of algorithms: options and limitations. In: info, Vol. 17 (6), 35-49. [pdf]
  • Dörr, Konstantin (2015): Mapping the field of Algorithmic Journalism. In: Digital Journalism [online before print]. [pdf]

 

 

“What Can I Really Do?” Explaining the Privacy Paradox with Online Apathy

Paper by Eszter Hargittai and Alice Marwick

Abstract
Based on focus group interviews, we considered how young adults’ attitudes about privacy can be reconciled with their online behavior. The “privacy paradox” suggests that young people claim to care about privacy while simultaneously providing a great deal of personal information through social media. Our interviews revealed that young adults do understand and care about the potential risks associated with disclosing information online and engage in at least some privacy-protective behaviors on social media. However, they feel that once information is shared, it is ultimately out of their control. They attribute this to the opaque practices of institutions, the technological affordances of social media, and the concept of networked privacy, which acknowledges that individuals exist in social contexts where others can and do violate their privacy.

Source: “What Can I Really Do?” Explaining the Privacy Paradox with Online Apathy | Hargittai | International Journal of Communication

Putting Users in Control of their Recommendations

At the 2015 ACM Conference on Recommender Systems, we presented an algorithm and user interface that gives users direct control over a recommender system.

We deployed a prototype of this system in MovieLens, and learned several things:

  • Different users used the popularity controls very differently. Some wished to preserve the existing MovieLens recommendation behavior. Others wished to completely change the nature of their top recommendations.
  • Most users wanted the recommender to become more popular (apparently MovieLens recommends, on average, movies that are too obscure). A minority wished the recommender to become more obscure.

Source: Putting Users in Control of their Recommendations | GroupLens

Artificial Moderation: A Reading List – The Coral Project

A lot of research has been carried out around using data analysis to identify different aspects of online behavior. Before I detail some of it below, I should add a note of caution: all analytics are only as good as how they are utilized in decision making by end users.The complex interplay between computational tools and human actors in sociotechnical systems (such as online communities) means that great technology and analytics can still fall flat if the community policies aren’t “right”. Engagement e

Source: Artificial Moderation: A Reading List – The Coral Project

Flaxman, Goel, & Rao: Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Online News Consumption

Online publishing, social networks, and web search have dramatically lowered the costs of producing, distributing, and discovering news articles. Some scholars argue that such technological changes increase exposure to diverse perspectives, while others worry that they increase ideological segregation. We address the issue by examining web-browsing histories for 50,000 US-located users who regularly read online news. We find that social networks and search engines are associated with an increase in the mean ideological distance between individuals. However, somewhat counterintuitively, these same channels also are associated with an increase in an individual’s exposure to material from his or her less preferred side of the political spectrum. Finally, the vast majority of online news consumption is accounted for by individuals simply visiting the home pages of their favorite, typically mainstream, news outlets, tempering the consequences—both positive and negative—of recent technological changes. We thus uncover evidence for both sides of the debate, while also finding that the magnitude of the effects is relatively modest.

http://poq.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/03/21/poq.nfw006.short?rss=1

Manipulating Citizens: How Political Campaigns’ Use of Behavioral Social Science Harms Democracy – New Political Science – Volume 38, Issue 1

(2016). Manipulating Citizens: How Political Campaigns’ Use of Behavioral Social Science Harms Democracy. New Political Science: Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 61-80. doi: 10.1080/07393148.2015.1125119

Source: Manipulating Citizens: How Political Campaigns’ Use of Behavioral Social Science Harms Democracy – New Political Science – Volume 38, Issue 1