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Emilee Rader

Associate Professor @ the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Understanding User Beliefs About Algorithmic Curation in the Facebook News Feed

by: Emilee Rader and Rebecca Gray


People are becoming increasingly reliant on online sociotechnical systems that employ algorithmic curation to organize, select and present information. We wanted to understand how individuals make sense of the influence of algorithms, and how awareness of algorithmic curation may impact their interaction with these systems. We investigated user understanding of algorithmic curation in Facebook’s News Feed, by analyzing open-ended responses to a survey question about whether respondents believe their News Feeds show them every post their Facebook Friends create. Responses included a wide range of beliefs and causal inferences, with different potential consequences for user behavior in the system. Because user behavior is both input for algorithms and constrained by them, these patterns of belief may have tangible consequences for the system as a whole.


Emilee Rader and Rebecca Gray. “Understanding User Beliefs About Algorithmic Curation in the Facebook News FeedCHI 2015. Seoul, Korea. April 2015.

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