Social Media should not be our Number one source of Information

Social Media have become our fundamental part of our daily lives. We use them for entertainment, connection and to stay updated on what is going on around us. In today’s digital age, algorithm is essential to all social media platforms. It is impossible to find a popular social media platform that does not allow algorithms to deliver contents to users. Recently, social media has been heavily criticised for allowing misinformation to widely spread its network which resulted in Donald Trump’s stunning upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential race. As you can see through this example, algorithms creates digital filter bubbles for every individuals and impacts our opinions and societal viewpoints. Is algorithm ethically moral and provides users with wide variety of information? or should social media platforms burst these filter bubbles?

Facebook uses algorithms to determine contents that shows on each user’s news feed. Amazon uses algorithms to determine product recommendation for each users. Google uses it to determine which search results to display for individuals. These algorithms are being used across most social media platforms to keep their users engaged to their own news feed. For example, EdgeRank; the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine which piece of content to display on individual users’ news feed, is capable of understanding your interests, connections, and time-decay to prioritise which posts to display on your news feed. Through algorithms, users are more intrigued to their news feed and can increase deeper knowledge on their interests. However, this traps users into their own filter bubbles and limit the posts that appears on one’s new feed. Users are not be able to receive information that are outside of their interests, ideas and opinions. At the end, algorithms are limiting the power of social media. However social media companies still use algorithms. That’s because they are businesses and users are important assets. The algorithm allows users to comeback to their platform because it generates user’s news feed based on their interests. Personally, I tend to use social media to keep myself entertained than to receive information. Therefore algorithms does make me click more, stay longer and visit often; and this is why social media is operating with algorithms.

I believe that social media companies does not have to break our filter bubbles. It is true that social media has grown enough to heavily impact the society such as the 2016 US presidential race, but social media is not a main source of information. A lot of people uses social media to connect with people and entertain themselves. They are businesses that needs users to generate profit, and algorithms: keeping users in filter bubbles, are successful for encouraging users to come back with tailored news feeds based on their interests and past activities. We should not be accusing Facebook for spreading misinformation that helped Donald Trump’s win. Instead, we should stop using social media as number one source of information and be more aware of our surroundings by interacting with other people and engage in our society.