Social Media Algorithms: What these could signify for the Future of Public Discourse

In today’s fast paced digital era, social media has revolutionized the way people communicate, share, and invoke public opinions. With the click of a sent button, minute-long videos, text, voice messages, and links can be sent globally instantly. This enables the immediate share of thoughts, opinions and experiences, sculpting public discourse and influencing narratives. Along with communication, the impact of social media is the amplification of voices that were previously marginalized or unheard of. This amplification of voices has provided democratic space for individuals to share their thoughts, regardless of social status or background. This instantaneous spread of information easily creates risk of misinformation and fake news, further allowing dissemination of inaccurate information creating consequences for public discourse and this is where algorithms can enhance that reality with their immense power.

What makes algorithms so effective at keeping users engaged is the ability to prioritize content that aligns with the user’s past behavior and preferences. Algorithms use data from user interactions such as (likes, shares, comments) to curate content for further engagement via recommendations or the first time an app is opened. Your favorite videos, ads and content may be at risk, if not already from an echo chamber. Even if you watch funny cat videos, political ideology, memes, favorite creators or any type of entertainment or news type of media an algorithm given enough matching data the echo chamber effect can be created aligned with the users pre-existing beliefs. Users tend to connect with others who share similar beliefs, interests and viewpoints, with the algorithm constantly reinforcing those existing beliefs we run to the far reaching consequences of confirmation bias and societal fragmentation. Users who get reinforced in their existing belief specially with a community of like minded people tend to enforce their views and lead to more extreme positions. Societal fragmentation happens when groups have a different understanding of reality. This can lead to lack of empathy and understanding for opposing viewpoints, further fragmenting societal divisions.

The influence on algorithms constantly plays a role with public opinion and behavior. By prioritizing certain topics and content, the algorithm influences users to what seems important. During election outcomes social media can influence voter behavior, potentially affecting election outcomes through targeted content and misinformation campaigns. Social movements like Black Lives Matter and the #Metoo movement can amplify the reach of positive social movements through the use/share of an algorithm and negative, such as hate movements.

We’ve all been familiar with clickbait, headlines like “Watch this video to instantly get a six-pack”, or ‘Or watch this to earn 6 figures in a month “, may sound familiar and however uncredible the title might be, those are all algorithm seekers. News outlets and creators use this to attract clicks and engagement, driven by algorithmic prioritization. The focus on quantity has led to millions of similar content made to catch the wave of the algorithm to further increase ad revenue and sales. 

At Development Den we understand the importance of a fast and reliable algorithm that can set the difference between users getting error prone, inconsistent results, and slow downs. To make an effective algorithm it needs to run smoother and faster to optimize and minimize repetitive “not hitting the target” tasks that could lead to a loss of user engagement. We know how important algorithms are for any online business, optimization lightens the workload while not being taxed heavily on hardware. That’s why we offer algorithm reworks and Integration and not only that, we offer free solutions for any limitations encountered, providing continuous support to our customers at no extra cost. 

TIPS For Restructuring and Integrating Algorithms: 

Align with Core Values:

Ensure that the algorithm’s goal aligns with the platform’s mission and ethical guidelines.

Quality Over Engagement:

Shift from totally engagement driven metrics to quality indicators, such as content

credibility and diversity. 

User Feedback:

Regularly gather and Integrate user feedback to refine algorithm performance. 

Beautiful young couple with tablets is using social media. (2023, April 18). Unsplash.