Twitter admits to changing algorithm after finding it ‘favors the political right’

O study carried out by Twitter compared the default homepage, through which the more than 200 million users have access to a sheet of publications chosen by an algorithm, with an alternative homepage in chronological order, in which the tweet the most recent come first.

have been analyzed millions of tweet members of the governments of seven countries between April 1 and August 15, 2020 and hundreds of millions of posts mediasmostly North American, at the same time.

The social network concluded that, in six of the seven countries analyzed, posts about right-wing politicians were more publicized on Twitter than those about left-wing politicians. The fault, says Twitter, lies with the algorithm.

It was also found that, in the countries studied – with the exception of Germany -, traditionally, right-wing media are more prominent on the homepage than left-wing media; and that the tweet created by right-wing politicians are also more publicized on Twitter than those by left-wing politicians.

The study also investigated whether political content from news outlets was amplified on Twitter, focusing primarily on North American news sources such as Fox News Station, the New York Times or the BuzzFeed website.

Canada with the biggest gap
The 27-page document shared by the social network on Friday describes the existence of a “statistically significant difference in favor of the political right” in the countries assessedwith the exception of Germany.

To reach this conclusion, Twitter used the following formula: a value of zero percent meant that tweet they reached the same number of users on both the algorithmic landing page and the chronological landing page; on the other hand, a value of 100% meant that the tweet on the algorithmic homepage had twice the reach as on the chronologically ranked page.

In the end, the biggest gap was checked in the Canada, where Liberal Politicians and New Politics had 43% reach, while Conservatives revealed 167% reach.

The United Kingdom followed, with 112% for the Labor Party and 176% for the Conservative Party.

The study’s authors tried to exclude findings for senior members of governments, but the conclusion remains: Right-wing politicians continue to be featured more on the homepage than left-wing politicians.

‘Inconvenient’ results could lead Twitter to change its algorithm
Twitter said it was still not entirely clear why the social network’s homepage produced this result and admitted the possibility of modifying the algorithm so that the problem could be solved.

The results of this study may even be “problematic”, admitted on social networking blog Rumman Chowdhury, Director of Engineering Software of Twitter, and Luca Belli, an investigator for the company.

“Algorithmic Amplification is problematic if there is preferential treatment resulting from the way the algorithm is constructed and not due to interactions that users have with posts,” the employees explained.

Now, “further analysis is needed to determine what changes might be needed to reduce the negative impacts of our algorithm.”

Twitter assured that will make this study available to other entitieswhich could bring additional pressure on Facebook: politicians around the world have called on Mark Zuckerberg’s social network to share its internal investigations with third parties, after a former employee went public with serious revelations about the company.

with agencies

Elmer Hayward

"Pop culture fan. Coffee expert. Bacon nerd. Infuriatingly humble communicator. Friendly gamer."

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