Media Algorithms Keep You in a Bubble

Engagement algorithms are simple. If you, the user, have engaged with a certain topic in the past, you are likely to engage in the future. So when a new piece of content is created on the platform that belongs to that topic, why not show it to you? You might even give it a thumbs up (or like, or heart).

This selection for engagement places you, the user, in an engagement maxima. You are maximally engaged given the topics you have expressed interest in in the past.

But what happens after a few years of this? Eventually, the algorithm is your only source of topics. We have found ourselves in a positive feedback loop. The algorithm selects topics for you based on engagement. You engage in the topics. The algorithm selects based on past engagement, and so on. How would you ever see anything unrelated?

This thought experiment exposes a negative side effect of engagement algorithms: limited content novelty. Engagement algorithms are conservative with novelty. The risk of presenting you something new that does not engage you is overhead. At best you ignore it. At worst, the topic offends you or makes you uncomfortable.


Folksonomies: media content algorithm echo chamber bubble

/technology and computing/internet technology/web search/people search (0.865267)
/technology and computing/internet technology/social network (0.683819)
/business and industrial/business software (0.641313)

Feedback (0.953115): dbpedia_resource
Negative feedback (0.838178): dbpedia_resource
Audio feedback (0.837837): dbpedia_resource
Positive feedback (0.833454): dbpedia_resource
Control theory (0.689824): dbpedia_resource
Cybernetics (0.685274): dbpedia_resource
Engagement (0.683520): dbpedia_resource
Future (0.660049): dbpedia_resource

 Why You're In An Echo Chamber
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  , Hunter (2021/02/07), Why You're In An Echo Chamber, Retrieved on 2021-02-10
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  • Folksonomies: algorithms echo chamber bubble