Editorial responsibilities arising from personalization algorithms

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

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