I am willing to hear differing opinions on this.

I sometimes see people on Fediverse speak as if there is something inherently wrong about the idea of content sorting and filtering algorithms.

There is a massive amount of content today and limited time. Content algorithms could provide the benefit of helping us sort content based on what we want. The most he urgent news, the most informative articles, the closest friends, etc. This might have some similarities with how Facebook and others do it, but it is not the same. Big social media algorithms have one goal: maximizing their profit. One metric for that is maximizing screen on-time and scrolling.

Personally, I’ve been developing an algorithm to help me sift through the content I get on my RSS reader, as there’s a lot of content I’m uninterested in. This algorithm would save me time, whereas those of Twitter and Facebook maximize my wasted time.

In my opinion, algorithms should be:

  • opt-in: off my default, and the user is given a clear choice to change it
  • transparent: the algorithm should be transparent about its goals and inner workings

Only with this, can algorithms be good.

What are your thoughts?

  • Oliver
    12 years ago

    For me, it was actually the implementation of the forced timeline algorithm that was the breakthrough for me to finally leave Facebook after a long frustration. That was more than a decade ago. Now these algorithms became standard.

    I would like to see multiple timelines, so to speak - for example, the favorite lists on Twitter would be available directly on the home page. That’s where I would actually find it useful in parts: My list for comics, for instance - sorting them by most popular posts from the last week? Why not, would be useful. Inoreader also has such a feature for premium users. For the home timeline on social networks, on the other hand, I really think it’s pure poison. On Facebook, it meant that I no longer saw posts about events in my private, healthy circle of friends - and instead anything that generated controversy was flushed to the top.