The danger of personalised feed

11 Aug 2019

Most of the social apps now come with features called personalised feed or personalised experience. They claim that they will provide personalised experience to each user differently as per their interest and people always buy it.

The danger of personalised feed
unsplash-logoWilliam White

Why the apps are giving you personalised feeds?

Because That’s where they are taking control of the things what you see or what you read. Nobody is gonna question them since what you see in your feed is seen by you only.

I prefer to have control over things what I see instead of giving control to the app. The moment you give away the control to the app, they can inject anything into your feed with a justification, it is personalised.

They will take this as an opportunity to learn and understand about you by asking more and more questions on your preferences and likes.

They provide options like Not Interested, to create a fake sense, you still have control over what you see. But in reality, the app decides what you see and what you should read. Whenever you mark each and everything Not Interested they are learning more about your preferences.

These learning can help them to categorize and feed in things accordingly.

How this help to unleash propaganda

Consider this app is helping people to unleash political propaganda,

They will inject items into your personalised feed to make sure you will see as per the propaganda people want you to see. They will do this to you until you start to see and think as they want.

To make this worse, it’s really difficult to investigate, the items you saw in personalised feed because they won’t leave any trace. Most time you see the updated items and there is no way to time travel to a particular date and time to see how the feed looked like in a given time.

Adding ads into this make things even worse, but more profitable for app business.

Recent Cambridge Analytica scandal is the same. Facebook played along with political powers to make sure their users will see and think what the candidates want to see and change their minds.

They were successful in unleash propaganda all over the world, even in India. They were partially successful in even changing your opinion political inclination, without even knowing you.

As long as you enjoy the so-called personalised feed, they will keep you enslaved.

Digital Slavery

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