Sunday, October 08, 2017

Facebook admits biased algorithms

I commented that Google has bluffed the public into thinking that its search algorithms are neutral, when they are obviously not. Google employs 10k site raters.

Now Facebook announces:
Nobody of substance at the big companies thinks of algorithms as neutral. Nobody is not aware of the risks.
That was a response:
Stamos’ tweetstorm was set off by Lawfare associate editor and Washington Post contributor Quinta Jurecic, who commented that Facebook’s shift towards human editors implies that saying “the algorithm is bad now, we’re going to have people do this” actually “just entrenches The Algorithm as a mythic entity beyond understanding rather than something that was designed poorly and irresponsibly and which could have been designed better.”
It is nice of Facebook to admit that its algorithms are biased, but Google and Facebook still stubbornly refuse to allow appropriate user control over what is seen.

Google and Facebook could put in fake news filters, and make them user options. No single filter will make everyone happy, For example, some users will want to see Alex Jones links, and some will not. Google and Facebook could allow users to block Alex Jones and similar links, if they wished.

Consider the analogy to email. Most email clients allow you to block senders, or to filter messages according to various criteria. Google Gmail has a spam classifier, but you can override it with your own preferences. The only thing that it completely block is child porn, as far as I know. But you have no such control over Google searches, Google news, Facebook news, etc. Those companies have a left-wing dictatorial mindset where they want to make decisions to control what you see. Apparently they also make more advertising revenue that way.

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