I am writing my master thesis on the topic of datafication and algorithmic transparency and governance. Relying on an empirical research of my datafied self, I will use this as a background to raise and investigate these issues: why we need algorithmic transparency and governance of algorithms, what are the current debates, and how it can be done given algorithms and platforms’ specific nature.
How does personalisation in search engine results work? Which signals are taken into consideration when the algorithm favorites one over another result? What is the weight of these different signals? Curious to find out, I did a small research exercise.
Crowdsourcing search results for two queries [parkland survivors] and [holiday], I gathered 91 distinct query results, from participants from 8 countries. Participants were asked to provide information on search engine used, browser used, IP address accessed (global or local) and local domains, whether accessed from desktop or mobile (and particular app used), logged in or logged out, ad blockers used or not, other extensions added to the browser (Ghostery, PrivacyBadger and similar) in order to investigate the relation between these factors and the diversity of search query outputs.
Say goodbye to your favorite memes, gifs, music. There are new rules on the internet!
On June 20 2018, the JURI Committee adopted the Article 13 of the new Copyright proposal. Threatening to change the internet as we know it, I wrote a policy brief underlying the key proposals and their implications over how the internet, and with it users’ behavior, will function.Users can say goodbye to both uploading and seeing their favourite memes, gifs, music, quotes, if someone claimed copyright on them. They will be blocked before upload if they use any (or just part of a) copyrighted material.
One of the most contested issues is the Article 13 – Copyright on online platforms. The reasons for this are manyfold: 1. it breaches the human rights of freedom of free expression and privacy; 2. contributes to the creation of “censorship machines” by filtering all user-uploaded content; 3. it leaves the regulation of the internet and free-flow of content/information in the hands of the online platforms themselves 4. runs directly contrary to the eCommerce Directive (Article 15) — which prohibits imposing “general monitoring” obligations on hosting providers.
I wrote this paper as part of a course at my Master studies in Digital Communication and Policy. With the recent events around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the title might sound (a bit!) inappropriate, and should be rephrased into: Can we save ourselves from social media? Regardless, the role social media platforms play in our everyday life and in social movements (and elections and violence and you name it) is significant. It is evident that social media won’t save the world, but they are certainly powerful actors.
Although this is not a new topic, and I had some constraints while writing it (such as word count, number of authors that HAD to be included, although they might not be the most suitable for the topic), I did my best to contribute to the discussion. I especially focus on the issue of platform “affordances” and how they influence what can and cannot be done, or how social media platforms can be (ab)used. Continue reading “Will social media save the world? The role of social media in (dis)abling social movements”
What is Trump tweeting about and how his tweets resonate among the Twitter publics?
Curious and triggered by the noticeable influence Trump’s tweets have on national and international issues, when they often weigh more than official press releases by the White House, together with Mouloud Kessir and Sangam Slipakar, we decided to observe how his tweets resonate with the wide Twitter publics.
We decided to observe: 1. which issues that Trump tweets about are gaining the most attention among the Twitter publics, 2. are these issues national or international by nature and 3. how their resonance changes when comparing pre-election and post-election time period. Continue reading “Resonance of Trump’s tweets among the Twitter publics”
(On algorithms-mediated society and what to do next)
The more digitally mediated benefits we have, the fewer opportunities there are for humans to exercise control and authority.
Show me your (meta)data and I’ll tell you what you can(not) do!
September 2017: Facebook discloses that more than 3000 ads ($100,000 in ad spending) were produced by Russian bots during the USA presidential elections. The influence and its scope on the outcome of the elections is yet to be assessed. In the meantime, Facebook removed the alleged posts, disabling independent researchers to investigate the issue. Continue reading “The Fourth Digital Divide – Divide by Algorithm?”
I was asked to write a 1000-words-only essay on Facebook’s strategies for consumer surveillance. So, here it is:
You are the sum total of your data
Don DeLillo (White Noise, 1985)
Citizens everywhere around the world are exposed to mass scale data collection and datafication. From mass and targeted surveillance, blocking and filtering, leaks of personal data, third party trackers and profiling, to algorithm politics and mediation, tracking browsing history – every user is being target of these behaviors. Governments, ISPs, hackers, companies – they all gather data and generate information about us and trace the digital fingerprints we leave behind in our every-day living on the net. As our lives become increasingly datafied, as our online and offline lives merge into one big bulk of data, many have recognized the value of data and meta-data, making individuals vulnerable to the practices of datafication.
We take things for granted. Things like the Internet.
Many don’t understand how much and what types of data they leave behind when using the Internet. And what this data can reveal about them, how it can be (mis)used and how it can breach their privacy? (privacy? What privacy, I have nothing to hide!)
I was playing around in Illustrator and made this series of Venn Diagrams to show what happens while using the Internet and all the actors involved in the process…
As part of the Digital Methods Summer School at the University of Amsterdam, together with a team of young researchers, we did a research project investigating the meme diffusion across platforms.
With the seed meme of #grexit as initial search term, we looked at how different platforms are inter-related and how can we study the relationship between them.
This is an analysis I did for the Communication and Culture exam, as part of my masters in Policy Studies at the Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities. So please disregard the grammatical errors and/or spelling mistakes.
It relies on DMI TCAT tool developed by Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam.
You can read the paper here.