Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Learning to Fool Our Algorithmic Spies"

Services that used to depend on asking me questions — What do you like? Whom do you want to follow? — have started making more assumptions based on my behavior. I’m reminded that my actions are being recorded and factored into my experience when I am greeted on Twitter by a series of recommendations derived, apparently, from things I’ve liked, looked at or reposted. I’m implicitly prompted to think about algorithmic surveillance when, the day after I wasted a few minutes scrolling through a cycling publication’s account, my Instagram app floods my Explore tab with photos of mountain bikes. Weeks after tapping an unfamiliar name on Facebook and scrolling through the recent posts — a postmarriage surname change, a new profile photo — this person, a former acquaintance I haven’t spoken to in years, is given the same feed placement as current close friends.