Judging algorithm discrimination

Tracking Exposed
Mar 2, 2018 · 3 min read

Now the goal is to compare what the 6 profiles saw. Implicitly, this could reveal how they perceived the electoral discourse differently.

Which source, or which orientation, got generally advantaged by the algorithm?

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And the consideration is…

…Wrong! No judgment! Looks cool, but has bias!

Data visualization do not just tell the truth putting measurement together, and considering the algorithm analysis is open to many interpretation for the high amount of variables, our judgment has to be carefully stated.

Analysis and interpreting is a job of responsibility, specially if political judgment are mixed on it.

Please, read Disinformation in Visualization, by Mushon Zel-Aviv, because this is an absolute requirement for any kind of ethical usage of these data, and a prerequisite to do any honest advocacy against the algorithm hegemony.

The whole idea of using bot is to reduce the bias, because we control variables otherwise unpredictable. but that is not sufficient per se.

In the case above, the amount of impression seen by the bots are higher because the associated source published much more. therefore, also their presence in the bot timeline were more. we can’t yet judge the algorithm. it is more complicated than that.

But we can begin ignoring the source orientation, exclude that bias, and look to other data

We’ll look at the kind (link, video or photo) of the post display. That is a relative measurement who do not consider the differences among sources, what we are looking at are percentage of impressions, during 6 days of February, divided by users:

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black: fascist, violet: undecided, green: Right, blue: Center-Left, red: left, yellow: Movement 5 Star

Here we’ve a pattern!

With a few likes shaping a different orientation, the outcome is a quite diverse informative experience. The patterns are repeating themselves every day.

Quite relevant insights:

  • The fascist profile receives an outstanding amount of pictures (probably Facebook knows they can’t read? Ok, fun to believe so, but in the next post you can find an explanation)
  • The undecided have a fair distribution between video/picture and links

If can help, can be put in perspective with the availability of links/picture/video in total. This display all the published posts, grouped by kind:

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Links are often the majority, because is the basic way to monetize

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