November 29, 2021

Twitter admits its algorithms amplify right-wing politics

SOCIAL NETWORKS – It is an admission that hurts as the presidential campaign opens in France. Twitter admitted in a study published Thursday, October 21 that its algorithm favored political publications on the right rather than those on the left.

The study carried out by the firm concerns seven countries: Germany, Canada, Spain, United States, France, Japan, United Kingdom. Among the conclusions drawn from the analysis of millions of tweets published by 3,634 elected officials, the social network reveals that the messages “posted by right-wing political accounts are more amplified by algorithms than those on the left”. This analysis is true in all the countries studied, except Germany.

As a reminder, Twitter’s recommendation algorithm has been around since 2016. It allows users to see content that may be of interest to them based on the accounts with which they interact the most. It is also possible to waive this algorithm and simply view the messages in chronological order.

As you can see in the Twitter graph below, In France, Republican tweets are the most amplified (at 150%). The whole nevertheless remains homogeneous compared to other countries such as Spain with the Popular Party (conservative Catholic), Canada with the Bloc Québécois (nationalist, populist) or the United Kingdom with the Conservative Party.

However, according to Twitter, “determining why these trends are emerging is a much more complicated question, as they are the products of interactions between users and the platform.” He added: “Further analyzes are needed to determine if changes are required to respond to the impacts of this algorithm”.

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