Twitter discriminates against politicians and media outlets by algorithm bias

He admits that Twitter is expanding more tweets from right-wing politicians and media outlets than left-wing sources.

The social media forum examined tweets from elected officials in seven countries – the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. He studied the rise of political content from news organizations on Twitter, focusing primarily on American news sources such as the Fox News, the New York Times, and Buzzfield.

The study compared Twitter’s “home” timeline – the default way for 200 million users to tweet, and the algorithm to adjust what users see – compared to the traditional timeline of recent tweets.

According to the study, in six countries, with the exception of Germany, the tweets of right-wing politicians received more emphasis on algorithms than left-handers. Right-leaning news organizations have increased more than those on the left; And in general, political tweets have been strengthened by algorithms over time.

According to the 27-page study, Twitter found “significant differences in statistics for the benefit of the political right” in all countries except Germany. According to the study, the value of 0% means that the tweets reach the same number of users in the algorithm-customized timeline, while the 100% value means that the tweets are doubled. Accordingly, the strongest difference between right and left was in Canada (Liberals 43%, Conservatives 167%), followed by England (Lab 112%, Conservatives 176%). The result was the same, except for senior government officials, the document said.

Twitter said it was unclear why the start time line had these results and that it needed an algorithm change now. A Blog post Twitter’s software engineering director, Roman Chauduri, and Twitter researcher Luca Bellie said the discovery could be problematic and further research was needed. The post acknowledges that this is a matter of concern if some Twitter users find the best treatment in the way they interact with the algorithm by setting their time line.

“Algorithm magnification is problematic, such as how an algorithm is developed and what is the best treatment for people’s interactions with it.”

He said Twitter would make the research accessible to outsiders, such as academics, and that it was preparing to make it more accessible to third parties, which could put more pressure on Facebook to do the same. Facebook has urged politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to share the study with third parties; Tens of thousands of internal documents – including the company’s Instagram application that revealed the mental health of teens – have been leaked by hacker Francis Hawgen.

The Twitter study compared two ways in which a user sees their time line. The other is a more traditional timeline where the user reads the most recent posts in reverse order.

The study compared the two schedules, considering that some politicians, political parties, or news outlets are richer than others. The study analyzed millions of tweets and hundreds of millions of news outlets, primarily in the United States, from April 1 to August 15, 2020, by elected officials.

Twitter said it would make the study available to third parties, but said privacy concerns prevented it from accessing “raw data.” “We are developing a comprehensive database for third-party researchers who want to replicate our core findings and validate our methodology,” the article said.

He added that Twitter is preparing to provide internal information to external sources on a regular basis. The company said that the team is finalizing the plan in a manner that protects the privacy of users.

“This approach is new and has not been used on this scale, but we hope it will address issues that may undermine the algorithm’s transparency and accountability transparency,” Twitter said. “We look forward to the future of this work with foreign researchers who want to duplicate, verify and extend our internal research.”

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