The next infographic I’d like to create is about the other half of the interaction between users and the app. More specifically, not the visible half - the UI - but the invisible one - the logics and algorithms behind that. The objective is always the same: keep the user glued at the screen as long as possible.
Here’s a list of some items I’d like to include in the infographic:
Algorithms compute how your home feed is built, alternating joyful (-> serotonin) posts to angry/violent ones (-> adrenaline), in order to trigger emotions that will keep you scrolling again and again.
The recommended items on the right (ie on youtube) are computed as being the most clicked ones from all users that watched the same video you are on. Usually the recommended content is not a better version of the video you are watching, but its a more extreme one, in order to attract you and make you click on it (ie: you are watching a video about how to make pizza and the top recommended video is about a girl who ate 100 pizzas in one day, or bulimic people… something that triggers in you stronger feelings).
Filter Bubble - manipulation of search data based on personal data. It is know mainly for Google search, but I do believe it is general problem as users are usually avoided of content, opinions, posts etc. then preferred ones just because it might force them to spend less time on the screen. And it is quite dangerous in long term because it is crucial to know and think also about facts and opinions of the side you might not like and open and free debate is basement for democracy. You have to listen arguments of counterpart otherwise society polarization without finding acceptable solution is what coming next. Here is some more information about it including some figures and pictures.
Consequences of being locked in any bubble and avoiding different opinions and even truth are very dangerous (all cults, sects, authoritarian regimes etc. are trying hard to avoid different information then “official and preferred ones”). Even if it is just side effect and not direct intention it is very dangerous for society and humanity.
Perhaps it would be better to have multiple infographics, one per item, because they are more complex to explain and take place in different contexts (feed, video watched, web search, …):
Infographic showing a social media feed, composed with alternatively by very good and very bad posts, not respecting the chronological order nor an ‘affective nearness order’ (let me see first posts by my closer friends).
Infographic showing a video being watched and other recommended ones on the right (youtube-like).
Infographic showing a social media feed with videos autoplaying
Infographic showing a web search (google-like) showing results and the filter bubble effect
Infographic showing a video being watched (netflix-like) and timer with next episode starting or other recommended video to watch after.
Doing so, we’d have also more content to post on our social media channels…
Tip: Much info and references already exists on this forum, like studies about how YouTube leads you to conspiracy theories, with data and all… Search here first, don’t reinvent wheels, make cross-refs!
Note that all non-linked data you add will be extra burden for the planned forum overhaul
Let’s do this as first backend harms infographic, that’s far more evidence supporting the variable rewards system, than the composition of a social feed in terms of sources of strong emotions (anger / sadness, joy / desire).
Here are some references we can put in the post: