Staff employed at University of Copenhagen – University of Copenhagen

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The Algorithmic Imaginary: Exploring the ordinary affects of Facebook algorithms

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

This article reflects the kinds of situations and spaces where people and algorithms meet. In what situations do people become aware of algorithms? How do they experience and make sense of these algorithms, given their often hidden and invisible nature? To what extent does an awareness of algorithms affect people's use of these platforms, if at all? To help answer these questions, this article examines people's personal stories about the Facebook algorithm through tweets and interviews with 25 ordinary users. To understand the spaces where people and algorithms meet, this article develops the notion of the algorithmic imaginary. It is argued that the algorithmic imaginary – ways of thinking about what algorithms are, what they should be and how they function – is not just productive of different moods and sensations but plays a generative role in moulding the Facebook algorithm itself. Examining how algorithms make people feel, then, seems crucial if we want to understand their social power.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalInformation, Communication & Society
Volume20
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)30-44
ISSN1369-118X
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

ID: 154688589