The way social media, algorithms control your online life
The way social media, algorithms control your online life

The way social media, algorithms control your online life

Another new world has been created in this world called Virtual World, where there is unlimited internet like Akash, social media like Facebook and Twitter and many search engines like Google.

We have created this world around digital content like computers and mobile phones, not in the physical real world around us, but in a parallel virtual world.

There we meet our friends: looking at their pictures, exchanging greetings, talking, and even making new friends in that world.

At the heart of managing this virtual world is some mathematical instruction, called algorithm in computer terms.

This algorithm controls social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and search engines like Google.

Frances Haogen, a former Facebook employee, recently raised questions about these issues. In a statement to a Senate committee in the United States, he accused Facebook and its apps of harming children, increasing divisions and undermining democracy. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Filipino journalist Maria Resao says Facebook authorities have failed to stop the spread of hate and fake information.

Facebook, however, has denied the allegations.

What is the algorithm?

Algorithm is the process of doing something or doing something step by step. This can be easily explained by comparing it with the cuisine.

When cooking rice, first the rice is taken in a pot, then water is poured into it, after washing the rice a few times, it is placed on the stove, then the stove is heated – this is the algorithm.

Nasim Mahmoud, an information technologist in Ireland who works with artificial intelligence at the United Health Group, an American medical and innovation organization based in Dublin, says: Can work according to instructions.

The computer can’t do anything on its own. But it has the ability to execute instructions. It is told some methods so that it can perform the task with very little intelligence (or no intelligence at all). He can finish with some mathematical steps. These are the instructions of the algorithm, “said Mr. Mahmud.

How it works on social media

There has been a lot of talk recently about the use of algorithms on social media. Because people are going to see or not get any news in these media is being determined through this algorithm.

Nasim Mahmood said, “Algorithms have come a long way now, algorithms are making a lot of decisions, we are moving with those decisions.”

With an example, he said, “Facebook is often asked to show someone’s profile – is he your friend? How is this done? How did Facebook realize that this person could be my friend? This is being done with a lot of complex algorithms.”

But is it just a decision made by algorithms or is there a role for humans?

Information technology expert Nasim Mahmood says yes or no – there is no such simple answer to this question.

Because the person designing the algorithm makes the decision based on the information he knows at the time.

Mr. Mahmoud said, “Suppose a friend of yours on Facebook can be your friend. The algorithm is said to tell a person who has a friend, his friends, that they can also be his friend. But let’s say the person who designed the algorithm may Little did they know that they could be friends because of their job opportunities, or because they lived in the same neighborhood, or because they attended the same school.

He said the process is constantly being updated which has enriched the algorithm over time. As a result, it is difficult to say for sure whether the algorithm or the person is deciding. The algorithm makes the decision, but the algorithm makes its decision based on the man-made design.

“Algorithms can do things that people can’t easily figure out. Just like a person can’t find his friend out of a million people. But algorithms can do that in a matter of moments.”

But now the algorithm is being designed in such a way that the computer itself can learn new things over time without a designer. This is made possible by data analysis which is called machine learning, deep learning or artificial intelligence.

The algorithm can also learn from new information. Because he has also been taught how to learn.

“We teach a small child some words first, then he can learn some words on his own, this time he may make a mistake, then we correct him, again he makes a mistake – the algorithm can be thought of in this way,” said Nasim Mahmood.

Can algorithms prevent fake news?

There is a lot of research going on so that the algorithm can recognize all the news that spreads fake news or hate speech. What is known so far is that the algorithm is able to detect such news in some cases, but not in others.

Information technology expert Nasim Mahmood said, “Even an educated person who reads fake news does not know in a moment whether it is fabricated or true. Because these news are written as real. Algorithms do not understand that. But algorithms have some additional benefits. It is possible for him. It is not possible for people to verify the truth of this news from one lakh more sources in a moment. ”

So how is fake news spreading on social media like Facebook?

This news was first spread because of the algorithm. Because whether it’s good or bad, fake or real – social media doesn’t easily understand that. But the question is whether the authorities were responsible for keeping an eye on the news.

Nasim Mahmood says whether the authorities took any steps to improve the algorithm after receiving the fake news is important.

“Didn’t we stop the child I was talking about when he was doing it wrong? If I don’t stop, I have to take responsibility for the child’s mistake,” he said.

When many people report on a news item, the algorithm realizes that there is a problem with the news item. From then on, the algorithm could decide on the news.

Are people trapped in the cage of algorithms?

The network of algorithms is now so vast, it may seem as if these mathematical instructions are controlling human life.

What a person does, when and where he lives, what he likes to eat, what his social status is, what football club he supports – all these algorithms know from his use of social media.

Suppose someone in a chat with friends might say that he wants to eat biryani. The next day he was seen posting a biryani ad on Facebook and he wondered if he had been eavesdropped on!

There could be many reasons behind this. One reason might be that a friend in the chat may have bought biryani online. Then the algorithm calculated that he had chatted with that friend yesterday afternoon, maybe he also wanted to eat biryani, and that’s why he was sent a biryani ad.

“How we think, and how we think, these things also seem to be being designed by someone. Maybe someone else is deciding what news to watch and what not to watch,” said Nasim Mahmood.

If someone searches for a thriller book on Facebook, Facebook will continue to send them news of the thriller book. And he will just keep reading such books.

The fear is here – he may not even know that there are romantic and adventure books outside of thrillers.

But the good news is that those who are designing algorithms are now trying to get social media out of such a bubble.