Social media platforms routinely apply personalization algorithms to ensure the content presented to the user is relevant and engaging. These algorithms are designed to prioritize and make some pieces of information more visible than others. However, there is typically no transparency in the criteria used for ranking the information, and more importantly, the consequences that the resulting content could have on users. Social media platforms argue that because they do not alter content, just reshape the way it is presented to the user, they are merely technological companies (not media companies). We highlight the value of a Responsible Research and innovation (RRI) approach to the design, implementation and use of personalization algorithms. Based on this and in combination with reasoned analysis and the use of case studies, we suggest that social media platforms should take editorial responsibility and adopt a code of ethics to promote corporate social responsibility.
Ansgar Koene, University of Nottingham
Elvira Perez, University of Nottingham
Helena Webb, Oxford University
Menisha Patel, Oxford University
Sofia Ceppi, University of Edinburgh
Marina Jirotka, Oxford University
Derek McAuley, University of Nottingham