THE MISSION

The goal of this experiment is to glimpse into the seemingly mysterious and methodical ways that algorithms shape our experience online. I’m hopeful that my findings will allow me to inform others about how their own online activity is being used to feed them content.

 
 
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  • Jordan Kahn

Day 9: 11/5/9

Well, tomorrow is the midterm election, so I'm bracing myself for an inordinate amount of political content over the next two days.


When I opened Firefox on the conservative profile, I was greeted with this page telling me that it had automatically updated itself.

This patch note was a little unnerving. I'm worried that because they updated their content blockers, it might be even hard for me to get targeted ads. I realize for regular users this could be a positive thing, but it makes completing this experiment more difficult.


Right away I began to suspect that the content blockers on Firefox were working properly. As soon as I hopped on to Fox News, the quintessential conservative news source, I was shown an ad for democratic house candidate for Illinois, Betsy Londrigan.

It will be interesting to see how my decision to use Firefox over other web browsers will affect the results of my experiment.


On Twitter, I had multiple notifications. Almost all of them were notifying me of a recent President Trump tweet. I think it's safe to say that Twitter's algorithms have fully recognized me as a conservative.

My "Who to follow" section also seems to be continuously populated with conservative or right-leaning accounts.


On the liberal profile, I opened Firefox up and was greeted with the same page telling me that Firefox has updated itself. At least I'll be consistent now.


My frequently visited sites on this profile still seemed to have very general, unspecific ads. It's becoming clear that this is probably not going to change anytime soon.

On Twitter, however, all of my notifications were from MSNBC. This is a pretty convincing indicator that Twitter has marked my account as left-leaning or possibly greater.

My feed continues to be filled with more and more democratic pundits and politicians as opposed to just news outlets. The same goes for my "Who to follow" section. Right now, Twitter's figure of choice to flood my feed with is democratic candidate for governor of Florida, Andrew Gillum.


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