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Will social media algorithms tell us how and what to think?

Ramon Murguía

Have you ever wonder how your news feed are selected for you? Social media algorithms are as complex as they can get. However, they have been choosing a set of variables based on your behavior toward friends, pages, companies or celebrities, but more importantly about how you might react to them and to the content they post. In fact, It all started with the like click button of Facebook, since then twitter, LinkedIn, instagram among the many different social media apps have been using algorithms to select the best content for you.

Do you have a special political party, religion, believe, sport, school, comedy show or any other preference? you might have notice how if you pay attention to any of the things you like, you start getting more and more information from that particular topic. More importantly, you might notice that you would not get any information from something that goes against it!!. As a matter of fact, that is the topic for this article, if you start getting information in social media that only is relevant to you based on the believes you have and hobbies you might like, how would you get the intelectual challenge to develop more knowledge, to questions the status quo or to even try innovations for improvement to make things better, when everything you might be seeing seems to be align on your believes. I started noticing this when getting to work a few colleagues were talking about a massive news to them and to me was a normal thing. That got me wondering about how Facebook's news feed algorithm worked and try to understand better, so doing some research I found the following: “Our goal is to build the perfect personalized newspaper for every person in the world,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a public Q&A in 2014. “We’re trying to personalize it and show you the stuff that’s going to be most interesting to you”. According to Zuckerberg, each of us gets exposed to more than 1,500 stories each day, but an average user only gets to see about 100 stories a day on their News Feed.

If you stop paying attention to an old friend you will notice that very soon will fade out and you might not see anything from him/her. Moreover, if you start watching or hearing or making full screen a particular post, you will start getting a lot of that. Like amazon when you watch an item and soon you get 20 different options everywhere, or selected movies from netflix, special reports on your wall, twitts, pictures on Instagram or on top the once you like more often since 70% on average of what is post it on Instagram that you follow, you never see, therefore your narrowing your options for debate and openess to udnerstanding other things, cultures, thoughts, just to mention some.

In conclusion, internet and social media is creating content more content that we never had and more that we can handle, but if you get news and information in different social media and everything you hear and see on a daily bases seems that is align to your believes and thoughts, would you be open to hear others people thoughts when everything seems to be align to your world? What would be the impact on conversations? I am wondering how can we make kids at school challenge more and open themselves to cultures and believes, specially when millenials and z generations seems to believe tehcnology as a new standard.

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