Chris Murphy on the Hidden Danger of Algorithms

July 18, 2023

Via New York Times:

Algorithmic recommendations now do the work of discovering and pursuing interests, finding community and learning about the world. Kids today are, simply put, not learning how to be curious, critical adults — and they don’t seem to know what they’ve lost.

Why It Matters

Murphy points out the harms created by social media for young people. Like any product, social media does not exist in a vacuum. Absent regulation, social media companies are chasing dollars at the expense of the mental health of teenagers. Murphy thinks government can fix this market failure.

My Take

As I have mocked lots of teen contestants in pageants one of my favorite questions is “is social media a net positive or negative for your generation?” and the folks I have talked to view it as a positive, even if they are skeptical of it. Young people see the connectedness that social media builds and aspire to be an influencer. They are more comfortable telling stories in video than many older folks. Maybe it makes less sense to ban algorithms than to force providers to give more choice, and filter things they do not like.

Want to get posts like this in your email?

This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.