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November 27, 2021 - 5:13 pm

Social media has become a part of our everyday lives and it makes so much easier for individuals to share their ideas and participate actively in the public sphere. However, as noted in this week’s articles, social media is a double-edged sword and can pose new and more sophisticated threats to democracy. Algorithms that drive the social media are assumed to be value-neutral (Akgun & Greenhow, 2021), because “these algorithms is hidden or opaque to most users (Krutka et al., 2020, p. 5)”. But it acts as information gatekeepers, presenting a biased and distorted picture of the public opinion climate (Stark et al., 2020). So I fully agree that the platform designer must design the platform algorithm by specifying the display content (Krutka et al., 2020), and it is necessary to operate and disclose the algorithms under the platform transparently, which will help the consumers to understand and be aware of the operating system of this algorithm. It’s not exactly the same context, but recently, there was a problem in one of Korean search engine platform like Google in the U.S. that manipulated an algorithm on a platform to raise the company’s product to the top ranking, which caused a big issue. Designers should be aware that deceiving consumers and steering their behavior is a big ethical problem, and I think it should be legislated as a policy to raise awareness.

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