Algos Anonymous

February 22nd 2017

But consider the number of ‘firsts’ that have yet to take place on Facebook, or on other video sharing platforms like Instagram or Snapchat. [...] The only real way to stop these from ‘going viral’ is not to stream them in the first place. Your personal Facebook Live videos can legally end up on TV


Update 2017-01-28 to add we've been working for years on an alternative. If you want, visit and chat on Decent.


In May, the Guardian published the guidelines used by Facebook’s Trending module team after Gizmodo revealed that the module was in fact curated by humans. The revelation fuelled accusations of potential bias at the social network, which has become the world’s largest distributor of news. The Guardian

According to former team members interviewed by Gizmodo, this small group has the power to choose what stories make it onto the trending bar and, more importantly, what news sites each topic links out to. “We choose what’s trending,” said one. “There was no real standard for measuring what qualified as news and what didn’t. It was up to the news curator to decide.” Gizmodo

Updated 2015-05-26. Since writing this I've talked with people who've joined support groups. Making me even more curious about whether taking a look at algo addiction is more relevant than it's ever been.

/Original piece/

How many algorithms are running right now? Do you even know? Could you even count them if you wanted to count them?

I wonder why there's no Algorithms Anonymous yet.

  • Are you on linkedin? That's (at least )one algorithm.
  • Do you use gmail? That's (at least) two.
  • Are you using any google products at all? That's three, at least.
  • Are you on twitter? They lagged, but that's four. Or five. Or six. Who knows.

How many life decisions have you made, are you making or will you make based on what an algorithm* wants you to do?

How many purchases do you make that you think you are making, but in actuality, a machine makes for you?

Is that wild to think about?

You have a phone? How much of your geolocation data is being used to sell you things? Beyond the tracking, you're paying a cell phone bill to be marketed to.


What, if any of the algorithms do you find nutrient-rich?

*Or group of people playing as though they're an algorithm.

Pub date: 2014-02-16. Edit dates 2015-05-26, 2016-03-03, 2016-12-02, 2017-01-28 to correct link & add link to Decent, 2019-04-11 to delete link to Death & Tech.

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