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Twitter Admits Its Platform Boosts Alt-Right Content But Doesn’t Know Why
By Alexa Heah, 22 Oct 2021
Image via Mano Kors / Shutterstock.com
Earlier this year, Twitter announced it was looking into its algorithms to learn if its platform had been causing “unintentional harms.” Now, the social media platform has published its initial findings, and it turns out, the site’s algorithms boosts content from the “political right,” though it’s not quite sure why.
This trend was spotted in six out of the seven countries it studied, which included Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US. The researchers honed in on if Twitter’s timeline favored political tweets from elected officials, as well as if certain political groups had their opinions amplified.
“Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline,” researcher Rumman Chowdhury wrote on Twitter.
“In six out of seven countries, tweets posted by political right elected officials are algorithmically amplified more than the political left. Right-leaning news outlets (defined by third parties), see greater amplification compared to left-leaning.”
However, Twitter has yet to figure out why this is the case. According to Engadget, the study posited that it could be due to the right and left using “different strategies on Twitter,” though it said more research would have to be done to gain more insight into the discrepancy.
While this news may re-enforce some users’ views about social media not being a level playing ground for all views and opinions, Chowdhury felt “algorithmic amplification is not problematic by default.”
The team behind the study emphasized that the findings do not “support the hypothesis that algorithmic personalization amplifies extreme ideologies more than mainstream political views.”
Well, if more isn’t done to determine why alt-right views are being favored by its algorithm, users on Twitter may not buy the story of fairness and equality the company is selling.
[via Engadget, cover image via Mano Kors / Shutterstock.com]
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